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Modern Housing Prototypes 



This book is presented in the belief that a reexamination of some of the great 
housing projects of this century is appropriate at a time when the design of 
housing commands the attention of architects the world around. The buildings 
offered here as case studies were selected because of their importance as pro- 
totypes, projects that set the standards and patterns of much that was, and is, 
to follow. Other considerations were diversity — so that a wide range of coun- 
tries, building types, and problems would be represented — and architectural 
quality. My assumption is that there is no excuse for poor architecture; that 
housing, like all buildings, to paraphrase Geoffrey Scott, must be convenient to 
use. soundly built, and beautiful. 

But why prototypes? One of the essential points of heuristic thought— the 
process of discovery and invention relating to problem solving — is the aware- 
ness that, until a problem is clearly defined, guesses or conjectures must be 
made to help clarify the problem. During the period of uncertainty, reference 
to analogous problems can be used to give a new turn to one's thinking. 
Through the study of solutions to related problems, a fresh conclusion may be 

Various writers have suggested that it is never possible to state all the di- 
mensions of a problem, that "truly quantifiable criteria always leave choices 
for the designer to make."* 1 In the absence of clear design determinants, and to 
avoid purely intuitive guessing, it has been argued that analogous reference 
might give design insight: that perhaps a paradigm of the problem might be 
accepted as a provisional solution, or an attack on the problem might be made 
by adapting the solution to a previous problem; that during the period when 
many of the variables are unknown, a "typology of forms" might be used as a 
simulative technique to clarify the problem. 

The notion of using an analogous problem as a paradigm for gaining insight 
into a present problem is not, of course, new. A mathematician typically looks 
for an auxiliary theorem having the same or a similar conclusion. 2 In architec- 

1. Alan Colquhoun, "Typology and Design Method," Arena, 1967, pp. 11-14. Karl 
Popper has perhaps best articulated the notion that logical heuristic process can be 
stimulated in situations characterized by a lack of quantifiable data by offering tentative 
solutions and then criticizing these solutions. Popper's book Conjectures and Refuta- 
tions (New York: Basic Books, 1962) is a lengthy justification of this procedure. William 
Bartley. "How Is the House of Science Built," Architectural Association Journal, Feb- 
ruary 1965, pp. 213-218, summarizes Popper's thesis as follows: "The first job of the 
man who has a problem must be to become better acquainted with it. The way to do this 
is by producing an inadequate solution to the problem — a speculation — and by criticiz- 
ing this. To understand a problem means, in effect, to understand its difficulties; and 
this cannot be done until we see why the more obvious solutions do not work. Even in 
those cases where no satisfactory answer turns up we may learn something from this 
procedure" (p. 216). Max Black also deals with the idea of analogous reference or model 
in Models and Metaphors (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1962). especially chapter 
13, "Models and Archetypes." 

2. See G. Polya, Hou to Solve It (New York: Doubleday, 1957). 

Harumi Apartment House, Tokyo. Kunio Maekawa, 19a8. 


Park Hill, Sheffield. Lewis Womersley. 1959. 


Housing. Morocco. ATBAT, 1950. 


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ture, invention often passes through a phase of groping, where ideas about a 
projected building form are triggered by exposure to some existing building 
with a similar program, functional specification, or site condition. The analo- 
gous building then becomes in some sense a model or a prototype. 

The use of prototypes is especially useful in the design of housing because 
housing lends itself readily to systematic, typological study. Most building 
types, such as theaters, schools, factories, or even office buildings, have to re- 
spond to different programs and are rarely consistent and repetitive. Housing, 
because it consists of repeating units with a constant relation to vertical and 
horizontal circulation, can more logically be studied in terms of its typological 
variations. Although housing would seem to embrace almost unlimited possi- 
ble variations, in fact there are not many basic organizational possibilities and 
each housing type can be categorized fairly easily. 

While building regulations, construction techniques, and housing needs have 
considerable impact on the form that housing may take at any given time in 
any given culture, still only a few dwelling unit types are plausible, and these 
units may be collected together in only a few rather limited ways that do not 
change very much from country to country,: An apartment building today in 
Zagreb — as an organization of living units — is much like an apartment build- 
ing in Berlin or Tokyo. Even extreme cultural requirements, such as the provi- 
sions for a tatami life-style in Maekawa's Harumi slab in Tokyo of 1958 (1), 
have resulted in an organization that can easily be compared to a Western 
model; Park Hill in Sheffield of the sixties (2), for example, is organizationally 
similar. Both have larger and smaller units in the typical section. Entrance to 
the larger of the two — a two-level unit — is at the corridor level, with rooms 
above; stairs lead to the smaller unit below. In each, therefore, the corridor 
occurs at every other level, and stairs lead up and down from there. Although 
the position of the stairs, kitchen, and bath are different — along parallel walls 
in Harumi and in a zone parallel to the corridor in Park Hill— and the sitings 
of the buildings are quite different, nevertheless they are organized fundamen- 
tally alike.^Even the Arab housing designed in Morocco in the fifties by ATBAT 
(3), where cultural requirements dictated absolute visual privacy, outdoor 
cooking, and a lack of the usual room subdivisions and conventional toilets, re- 
sulted in a building which, although it has a peculiar checkerboard elevation, 
is more or less a conventional single-loaded, gallery-access apartment build- 

Whatever his cultural, economic, and technical constraints, every architect 
is confronted with choices and questions about organization. How will the in- 
dividual apartment be arranged? How will the mix of different apartment 
types be accommodated? What circulation systems — horizontal and vertical — 
can service this mix of apartments? What is the best circulation system? Walk- 
up or single-loaded, double-loaded, or skip-stop corridor system? Where is en- 
trance and access to the vertical circulation system? What building form does 
this collection of units take: low-rise or high-rise, rowhouse, slab, or tower? 
These fundamental organizational questions are pertinent to any housing 
project. Modem Housing Prototypes is intended to provide the architect with 
a set of analogous references to help him solve these basic organizational prob- 

Unit Types 

Beginning with basic apartments or units, only two are suitable for repetitive 
use; one other — the 90 c double-orientation unit — has limited application. The 
basic types are: 

Sorgenfri apartment block, Malmo. Sweden. Jaenecke 
and Samuelson, 1959. 

Lincoln Estate. London. Martin, Bennett, and Lewis, 


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unit, 90 c 

unit, open-ended 

Each of these three unit types has several typical variations, depending upon 
the positioning of core elements— kitchen, bath, and stairs (when used inside 
the unit) — the entrance options, and the depths necessary for natural light. 
Minimum unit dimensions vary from country to country as building regula- 
tions and construction practices differ, and the arrangement of core elements, 
natural light, and ventilation requirements change from place to place. 

Single-Orientation Unit 

Units that open or face to one side come in two types: with core elements ar- 
ranged along transverse walls, perpendicular to the corridor, or arranged in an 
interior zone adjacent and parallel to the corridor. Although these units have a 
preferred side — they face outward and are most often used where three sides 
are closed except for the entrance from the corridor (a typical double-loaded 
corridor arrangement)— some single-loaded, open gallery-access versions may 
have some minor windows opening to the gallery. 

Single-orientation unit: transverse core. This type has the advantage of using 
the transverse structural wall for core elements, so that most plumbing and 
mechanical stacks are adjacent to structural walls in a back-to-back arrange- 
ment between units. The obvious disadvantage with the type is that the kitchen 
and in some cases the bath are taking up exterior surface which could be 
better used for living and sleeping areas, since under many building codes the 
kitchen and bath do not require natural light and ventilation. An awkward 
plan can result when the kitchen is on one transverse wall and the bath on the 
other. Also, the blank exterior walls that core elements tend to create (espe- 
cially with the small windows typically used in a kitchen or bath) generate ele- 
vational problems; these blank surfaces also contradict the preferred-side char- 
acteristics of the type. 

The typical unit may include a scheme where the kitchen and bath are to- 
gether on one wall with the kitchen to the outside, like the Sorgenfri block in 
Malmo. Sweden, by Jaenecke and Samuelson (4). Other variations include 
two-story units such as the Lincoln Estate slab by J. L. Martin (5). Here two 
units interlock around an interior core of stairs and toilets: the kitchen in each 
unit is in a zone along the transverse wall on one side of the building. Park 
Hill (2) has a similar arrangement although it employs an alternate level corri- 

Apartments. Baltimore. Mies van der Rohe. c. 1965 


Lake Shore Drive apartments. Chicago. Mies van der 

Bphe, 1948. 

Lamble Street housing, London. Powell and Moya. 1954 


Courtyard housing. Espoo. Finland. Korhonen and 

Laapotti. c. 1968. 


Neue Vahr Apartments. Bremen. Alvar Aalto. 1958 


Preston housing, Lancashire. Stirling and Gowan, 1961. 

dor; the floors above and below the corridor level are double-orientation unit 
types (open both front and rear), with the kitchens lining up on one side of the 

Single-orientation unit: interior core along the corridor. In the more com- 
mon type of single-orientation unit, the core elements are arranged in a zone 
parallel and adjacent to the corridor. Entrance is through this zone into the 
main spaces of the apartment, thus letting the major rooms open to the pre- 
ferred side of the building. The kitchen and bath are interior spaces with me- 
chanical ventilation. This simpler plan usually features a compact back-to- 
back kitchen and bath grouping and clear, consistent zoning of spaces. The 
double-loaded corridor slabs designed by Mies van der Rohe (6) are planned 
this way. He modifies the idea slightly in the Lake Shore Drive apartments (7), 
where the bath and kitchen are back-to-back but the kitchen opens to the 
major spaces on the preferred side. Although more typically a plan for double- 
loaded corridor buildings (where apartments are located on both sides of the 
corridor), the type is also used for single-loaded or access-gallery plans. The 
Lamble Street project by Powell and Moya (8) is an example of this type. Or, 
for a lower density type, there are the courtyard houses by Korhonen and Laa- 
potti in Finland (9). 

Aalto's apartments at Bremen (10), an unusual variation of the single-orien- 
tation type, consist of fan-shaped units opening out to the site. Core elements 
here, although placed along transverse structural walls, are nevertheless in an 
interior zone along the corridor. The Preston housing by Stirling and Gowan 
(11) is a two-story version of the same type. These two are single-loaded corri- 
dor examples, but the single-orientation unit type is probably most advanta- 
geous where three sides of the unit are closed, implying a double-loaded, corri- 
dor-every-floor organization. 

A common variation of the singly-oriented unit (applicable to units with ei- 
ther transverse or interior core) works from a strategy of increasing the exte- 
rior surface on the open side of the unit so that more rooms can get light and 


Immeuble Villas project. Le Corbusier, 1922. 


Bishopsfield and Charters Cross, Harlow, Essex. Michael 

Neyland, 1960. 


Hansaviertel apartments, Berlin. Alvar Aalto. 1956. 


El Pueblo Ribera patio houses, La Jolla. R. M. Schindler, 


air. Le Corbusier' s Immeuble Villas projects of the twenties (12) were of this 
type: L-shaped units around an open terrace. Although the Immeuble Villas 
are two-story units with minor windows on the corridor side of the upper floor 
of each unit, implying a double orientation, the zoning of large volumes and 
terraces to one side contribute to a definite preferred condition. This type can 
work in a single- or double-loaded situation. Bishopsfield and Charters Cross 
housing at Harlow by Michael Neyland (13) is another example of a repeating 
L-plan, in this case, double-loaded with corridor walls containing only minor 
windows to the kitchens. 

Aalto's Hansa apartments in Berlin (14) are basically a singly-oriented type 
that follows the strategy of increasing exterior surface: its U-plan features din- 
ing, living, and bedrooms all around a central terrace. Schindlers El Pueblo 
Ribera houses at La Jolla (15) are also single-orientation, U-shaped units cou- 
pled together in pairs with hedges used to define and enclose the courtyard 





Patio housing, Frankfurt. Egon Eiermann, 1966. 


Cloverleaf project. Frank Llovd Wright. 1939. 


St. Mark's Tower, project. Wright, 1929. 


Atrium houses, Schwerzenback, Switzerland. Fred Kunz. 


A possible variation of the single-orientation type is the matte housing 
scheme, where a matrix of walls is built with each unit inside a walled-in 
area. Access requirements limit the number of collective arrangements possi- 
ble, but Egon Eiermann's matte housing in Frankfurt of 1966 (16) is an exam- 
ple of this type. Although there are small private gardens on the entrance side 
of each apartment, most major spaces open to a private garden to the rear, es- 
tablishing the single orientation. 


_ cm 

Double-Orientation Unit, 90° 

Double-orientation unit types come in many variations and can be collected to- 
gether in many different ways. The corner type or 90° double-orientation unit 
may be seen simply as a singly-oriented unit in which one of the three closed 
walls has been opened up. This limits the strategies of collecting units to- 
gether, since each needs a corner, and the use of this type seems to be limited 
to towers, smaller freestanding buildings, and to certain kinds of terrace hous- 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Suntop Homes are a good example of this type: four 
units within crossed party walls, each three stories high opening at the corner. 
Wright's earlier versions like the Cloverleaf development (17) introduced an in- 
ternal courtyard. St. Mark's Tower (18) and the built version of it, the Bartles- 
ville Price Tower, adopt the same parti of four corner units with core elements 
on the interior. Buildings employing this kind of unit necessarily must be free- 
standing, with private entrance required for projects like Suntop and common 
lobbies for towers like Bartlesville. 

Other examples of one- or two-story corner units include the atrium houses 
at Schwerzenback in Switzerland by Kunz (19) and the Candilis, Josic, and 
Woods projects, which often consist of buildings planned to gain the corner ad- 
vantage even to the extent of creating site arrangements consisting of many 
staggered-plan buildings in an overall system designed to maximize peripheral 

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Cluster housing project. Candilis, Josic, and Woods, 1959. 


Tower, Vallingby, Sweden. Ancker and Gate, 1953. 


Nirwana Apartments, Den Haag. Johannes Duiker, 1927. 


Hansaviertel tower, Berlin. Luciano Baldessari, 1956. 


The Albany Houses, New York. Fellheimer, Wagner, and 

Vollmer, 1950. 

surface (20). Most compact towers use this type: for example, the Vallingby 
tower by Ancker and Gate (21) or the Nirwana apartment buildings by Duiker 
(22), which have a much larger area in plan but are organized with an apart- 
ment in each corner. 

Various permutations of the tower use a strategy of creating more exterior 
surface and hence more corner conditions. While many of these are not strictly 
90° units, they are versions of the corner unit in that they cannot be repeated 
in linear fashion like the singly-oriented types. The Baldessari tower in the 
Hansa project in Berlin (23) or the Albany Houses in Brooklyn by Fellheimer, 
Wagner, and Vollmer, done for the New York City Housing Authority (24), are 
examples of this variation. Pinwheel plans such as the Candilis, Josic, and 


Apartment block, Bagnols sur Ceze, France. Candilis, 

Josic, and Woods, 1957. 


Markischesviertel, Berlin, floor plan. O. M. Ungers, 1962. 


Markischesviertel, Berlin, site plan. O. M. Ungers, 1962. 


Housing block, Clos d'Orville, Nimes. Candilis, Josic, and 

Woods, 1961. 


Tower. Copenhagen. A/S Dominia, c. 1960. 

Woods project at Bagnols sur Ceze of 1957 (25) try to maximize the corner sit- 
uation. O. M. Ungers employed this idea with a slightly different variation in 
the Markischesviertel project in Berlin in 1962 (26). Here bedrooms are put 
into the corners, which are solid except for small windows; the leftover void is 
designated as living space. Essentially, it is a corner, pinwheel parti that gen- 
erates—when used in combination — a distinctive staggered site plan (27). This 
was a popular idea at Markischesviertel, and many architects besides Ungers 
used it. All these projects are perhaps derived from various Candilis, Josic. and 
Woods schemes for cluster housing in the mid-fifties, where pinwheel blocks or 
towers hook up with each other to make a kind of continuous building (28). 

Still other strategies to increase peripheral surface and mulitply corners are 
the slipped-slab schemes such as this by A/S Dominia in Copenhagen (29). 





Bethnal Green towers, London. Denys Lasdun. 1960. 


Zollikerberg terrace housing, Zurich. Marti and Kast, 



Terrace housing. Zug, Switzerland. Stucky and Meuli. c. 



Terrace housing, Kauttua, Finland. Alvar Aalto, 1938. 


Apartment tower, St. James Place. London. Denys Las- 
dun, 1960. 

Lasdun in the Bethnal Green towers (30) uses the same idea, as does Aalto with 
the Hansa block in Berlin (14). 

Some terrace housing projects utilize a more complex version of the 90° or 
corner unit. The Zollikerberg project in Zurich by Marti and Kast (31) is an ex- 
ample of this. Here two-story L-shaped atrium units are placed on top of one 
another and stepped up a slope, with a retaining wall against the slope. Side 
walls are punctured only with small windows. There is a preferred condition 
toward the garden, but the living room becomes the dominant void at one cor- 
ner. The Stucky and Meuli units also in Switzerland (32) step up a slope, 
again with the windowless retaining wall against the slope and with essen- 
tially closed walls on the two sides. All major rooms open to a continuous ter- 
race, and the living room, which is the main space, opens to two sides at the 
comer. The above examples are not, strictly speaking, just 90° units because 
each apartment has openings to three sides and does not attach horizontally to 
other units; however, the positioning of the living room as a large volume at 
the corner emphasizes the corner condition. The drawing of the Aalto terrace 
houses at Kauttua (33) shows this condition three-dimensionally with openings 
to three sides. But this is only suitable on very narrow sites, and a more typical 
condition perhaps would be side-by-side Kauttuas with each unit more literally 
a corner type. Denys Lasdun's beautiful apartment block at St. James Place in 
London of 1960 (34) is a high-rise example of the same condition. Although it 
is a tower backed up to an existing party wall on one side with open space on 
the other three sides, it is spatially a 90° type. By use of an ingenious split-level 
section, Lasdun has been able to further accentuate the corner orientation of 
the living room, which is one and one-half floors high and opens to a park on 
the preferred side of the building. 


Green Belt South housing, Zollstock, Germany. O. M. 

Ungers, 1965. 


Patio housing, Tustin, California. Backen, Arrigoni, and 

Ross, 1969. 


Rowhouses, Werkbund Exhibition, Vienna. Andre Lurcat, 



Siemensstadt housing, Berlin. Fred Forbat, 1930. 


Double-Orientation Unit, Open-Ended 

While single-orientation units are suitable for buildings with double-loaded corri- 
dors that open to each side and for hillside housing or single-loaded corridor 
buildings that turn their backs upon some undesirable site condition such as a 
highway or a northern exposure, housing units with a double orientation are 
far more common. Probably stemming from the common sense advantage of 
repeating units while still maintaining maximum exterior surface, this system 
of placing open-ended units side by side is perhaps the oldest form of collective 
urban housing. A dwelling unit that is open at each end has many organiza- 
tional options. If the unit is very deep, light is minimal and the open ends are 
not much of an advantage. O. M. Ungers' Green Belt South housing of 1965 
(35) or the Backen, Arrigoni, and Ross project in Tustin (36) are good exam- 
ples of very deep units. In each, the unit is so long that some auxiliary means 
of lighting the interior has been used. With Ungers, a parallel open slot lets 
light into the four-story building, while in the Tustin project a system of inte- 
rior courtyards is used, resulting in a one-story building. 

By comparison, units such as Lur^at's rowhouses at the Vienna Werkbund 
Exposition (37) do not have a light problem because they are so shallow. But 
because the rooms are small, core elements come to an outside wall and the 
stairs are actually attached to the exterior as a separate element. So there are 
general criteria for optimum depth: shallower units could very well become 
single-orientation types, deeper units have to find some other means of intro- 
ducing light, such as interior courtyards (which are unsuitable for high-rise 
buildings). Optimum widths and depths are also a function of building require- 
ments: room sizes, stairs, and so on. 

The open-ended slot requires open space outside the unit at each end and 
usually some means of providing privacy — a garden wall, for example — except 
where the unit is well off the ground. Access to this type can be from either 
end or, in the case of multistory buildings, from within, making internal skip- 
stop corridor systems mandatory. Walk-up units, which were especially popu- 
lar in Europe before the postwar proliferation of high-rise building — Sie- 
mensstadt, for example (38) — also give access at an interior point. 

Generally, the double-orientation type is at least a two-story unit, so the ar- 
chitect must consider where the stair, kitchen, and bath can be put. Basically, 
the types may be classified as either transverse (stair perpendicular to the long 
axis of the unit) or longitudinal (stair parallel to the long axis). Following are a 
few examples of the double-orientation types. 




Procuratie Nuove, Venice. Vincenzo Scamozzi, seven- 
teenth century. 


Typical townhouse, Baltimore. Nineteenth century. 


Rowhouses, Reston, Virginia. Whittlesev and Conklin, 

Rowhouses, Roehampton. London County Council, 1952. 

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Double-orientation unit, open-ended; interior stair and core, longitudinal 
stair. Sometimes called a "dumbbell'* plan because of its form — a void at each 
end and a concentration of parts in the middle — this type positions the major 
living spaces to the outside, where an opening to private outdoor space is a 
possibility, and keeps the core elements, including the stairs, on the interior. 
The dumbbell plan rowhouse has a tradition dating back to medieval times 
and in most Western cities was probably the most common form of housing 
until the invention of the rigid structural framej Historic examples are wide- 
ranging: Scamozzi's Procuratie Nuove of the seventeenth century in Venice 
(39) is entered from an interior courtyard via stairs, with major living spaces 
facing the Piazza San Marco and sleeping spaces opening to the garden and 
the Grand Canal — palatial quarters ingeniously planned, of incredible beauty. 
On the other hand one may find a rowhouse from Baltimore of the nineteenth 
century, which is typical of urban housing in the eastern part of the United 
States prior to 1920 or so (40). The dumbbell plan is popular in the United 
States because building codes allow interior kitchens and baths. Other exam- 
ples include the rowhouses at Reston (41) and those at Roehampton by the 
London County Council (42). 

The typical early twentieth-century walk-up housing consisted of a dumbbell 
plan that was entered from an interior hallway. Even though European build- 
ing codes tend to require that kitchens have exterior windows, a dumbbell type 

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Peabody Terrace, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sert, Jack- 
son, and Gourley, 1964. 

Weissenhof exhibition housing, Stuttgart. Mies van der 
jtohe. 1927. 

King Street housing. London. Morton, Lupton, and Smith, 



Unite d 'Habitation, Marseilles. Le Corbusier, 1952. 

of plan usually results. Examples are Sen's Peabody Terrace at Harvard (43) 
and Siemensstadt (38). the huge project outside Berlin of the 1930s. There 
one finds many different buildings done by many different architects, but all 
are just minor variations of the same unit type — a situation probably en- 
couraged, in Germany at least, by Mies van der Rohe's block at the Stuttgart 
Weissenhof exhibition of 1927 (44). This is the type of walk-up unit that was 
used in Germany to the practical exclusion of all else for almost two decades. 
The walk-up unit with a dumbbell plan is also popular in England, the King 
Street project by Morton, Lupton. and Smith (45) perhaps being representative 
of recent rowhousing there. 

The dumbbell plan is not restricted to use in rowhouses or walk-up situa- 
tions. It also has wide application in high-rise buildings, particularly slabs. Le 
Corbusier' s Unite d'Habitation (46), a building that has been repeated in 

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Milton Road rowhouses, London. District of Haringey, 



Siedlung Halen, Bern. Atelier 5, 1959. 

slightly differing versions in France and Germany and has been widely copied 
almost everywhere, is the perfect example of a multistory dumbbell plan. A 
double-loaded, skip-stop corridor gives access to a two-level unit with kitchen, 
dining, and living area at entry level and bedrooms and bath above. Here the 
core elements, including the stair, are interior, although the stair rises from a 
double-height living room. 

Double-orientation unit, open-ended; exterior kitchen, longitudinal stair. 
Perhaps a more common version of the longitudinal stair arrangement, and 
one popular in Europe, brings the kitchen to the outside; either the bath for 
the bedrooms is above the kitchen or another core or service wall is introduced 
on the interior. Examples of this include the Milton Road project (47) and Sied- 
lung Halen by Atelier 5 (48), both self-contained rowhouses or terrace houses, 
or a walk-up situation also from the Milton Road project by the Borough of 
Haringey (47). This unit type is also used in high-rise slabs but again, because 
it is a two-story unit, it is limited to skip-stop corridor arrangements. Single- 



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Apartments, Germany. Schmiedel and Zumpe. 1960. 

Hansaviertel tower. Berlin. Van den Broek and Bakema, 

L'Aero Habitat. Algiers. Bourlier and Ferrier, 1950. 

Hillside housing, Ithaca, New York. Werner Seligmann. 
Swiss Cottage, London. Douglas Stephen, 1960. 


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loaded and double-loaded corridor arrangements are feasible, with the kitchen 
usually at the entrance level; in the case of the single-loaded type with access 
gallery, the kitchen gets light from the gallery., Examples of the double-loaded 
type include Schmiedel's apartments in Germany (49) and the van den Broek 
and Bakema Hansa block in Berlin (50). 

Single-loaded versions include the L'Aero Habitat development by Bourlier 
and Ferrier in Algiers of 1950 (51). Werner Seligmann's hillside housing in Ith- 
aca, New York, of 1972 (52), and Swiss Cottage in London by Douglas Stephen 
with Koulermos and Forrest (53). 

Double-orientation unit, open-ended; exterior kitchen, transverse stair. This 
is the most common open-ended unit. Although usually wider than a unit with 
a longitudinal stair, several advantages result. First, a clear circulation zone 
along one wall is defined by the stairs and other core functions along the oppo- 
site wall. Circulation in the living room is now along the side of the space, and 
from the entrance one can see down the hallway into the living area, which 
gives the impression of one continuous space throughout the floor. If the stair 
is pulled back slightly from each side wall, allowing enough space to move 
past the stair, the kitchen can serve the living and dining area past the stair 
without using the main hallway. This unit satisfies the European preference 
for exterior-fronting kitchens and forms a larger space in the living and dining 
area where it is most useful. Upstairs, unless the plumbing stack can be ma- 
nipulated so that the bathroom is on the interior, valuable exterior surface is 
taken up with a space requiring only minimal light and air. Either single-run 
or return stairs can be used, and different minimum unit widths, of course, re- 







Flamatt terrace housing, Bern. Atelier 5, 1960. 

Pedregulho housing, Rio de Janeiro. Affonso Reidy, 1950. 


Unite Billardon, Dijon. Pierre Beck, 1954. 


Terrace apartments, Germany. Schroder and Frey, 1959. 


suit: Low-rise examples include the Flamatt terrace houses in Bern by Atelier 
5 (54) and their famous Siedlung Halen. also in Bern (48). 

This is a common type for use in high-rise buildings. The serpentine slab of 
Affonso Reidy in the Pedregulho development in Rio de Janeiro (55), the Billar- 
don slab at Dijon by Beck (56), and Womersley's Park Hill project (2) are three 

Double-orientation unit, open-ended; interior kitchen, transverse stair. This 
version of the dumbbell type, with stair and other core elements on the inte- 
rior, comes in many variations, some with stair, kitchen, and bath on the same 
side, some with the kitchen opposite the stair. Examples of the latter arrange- 
ment include the terraced walk-up fiats of Schroder and Frey (57). Sometimes 

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. i 




Edith Avenue housing. Durham. England. Napper, Er- 

rington, Collerton, Bamett. and Allot. 1961 


Rowhouses, Hampstead. Amis and Howell. 1956 

Quinta Normal. Santiago. Carlos Breseiani, 1960. 


Fleet Road terrace housing, London. Neave Brown. 1968. 

Apartment block, Lausanne. Decoppet. Veuve, Aubrv 
and Mieville, 1959. 

the transverse stair and the kitchen are together, a type common in row- 
house applications— for example, the Edith Avenue housing project of 1961 in 
Durham (58), and the Amis and Howell houses in Hampstead of 1956 (59). 

Few high-rise buildings seem to use this type. However, the Breseiani 
project, Quinta Normal in Santiago, Chile (60), uses an interlocking system 
with living and dining areas and kitchen taking up two bays to one side of the 
corridor at the lower floor and the bedrooms in an open-ended arrangement 
above but in just one bay. This system would be applicable for high-rise slabs 
as well. 

The double-orientation, dumbbell unit plan is impractical for very shallow- 
buildings where there is seldom room for the interior core. In Lurcat's Vienna 
project (37), for example, the core has to come to the outside, although here 
each unit is three floors high. With Neave Brown's Fleet Road project (61), a 
similar situation occurs: a three-bedroom maisonette has kitchen and bath 
fronting the gallery, but, because of the limited area on any one floor, a pecu- 
liar mix of spaces results in which the dining area is separated from the living 
room, bedrooms are on both floors, and toilet facilities are of necessity dupli- 
cated. For high-rise building, this type is probably not suitable: a very narrow 
building would be structurally unstable if higher than a few floors unless the 
building were warped for added lateral support. The Smithsons' curved slab 
project of the 1950s (page 132) was presumably developed just for this reason. 

Another double-orientation, open-ended unit type that is widely used expands 
laterally: bedrooms, rather than being upstairs, take over the adjacent bay, so 
that the entire apartment is on one floor but in two bays. In a two-story unit, 
there is an overlapping of bays so that bedrooms above would be over the liv- 
ing rooms of both units below. The single-floor version is typical of most walk- 
up housing or noncorridor types of high-rise buildings. The Decoppet, Veuve, 
Aubry, and Mieville project in Lausanne, Switzerland (62), is a good example 
of this type. 






Winscombe Street houses. London. Neave Brown, 1968. 

Building Types 

The ways in which the various dwelling units can be combined into different 
building forms are a function of the special characteristics of the building — 
site, orientation, height, and so on — and the circulation system used. Because 
the ways in which units may be collected together are limited by building reg- 
ulations, construction practices, and cultural preferences, different housing 
types occur in some countries while not in others. For example. United States 
fire codes, until very recently, required an exit from each floor of an apartment 
and so eliminated skip-stop sections like the typical Unite of Le Corbusier. In 
some countries, such as France and Brazil, multiple fire stairs are not re- 
quired; and in Chile five-story walk-ups are allowed. Sometimes a particular 
housing form may result from a tradition of similar housing: the widespread 
construction of four-story walk-up buildings in Germany, the gallery-access 
maisonette in England, or hillside housing in Switzerland. Although absolute 
comparison of housing from country to country' would have to take into consid- 
eration the differences in building regulations, construction practices, and na- 
tional traditions, comparison is possible on the basis of unit and building types. 
It is not necessary to understand all about building in a particular place to be 
able to analyze a particular building, to classify it organizationally, and to 
identify its unique features and concepts. Without a comprehensive under- 
standing of building practices in every country — an unlikely knowledge — com- 
parison on any other basis seems all but impossible. 

Building forms resulting from the collecting together of many units into a 
single building are closely tied to a few possible circulation options. If a com- 
munity of dwellings is seen as simply many individual houses, each hooking 
on to an access system, then only a few systems emerge. 

Private Access 

Here there is private entrance and private internal vertical circulation. Height 
is limited by most building codes to two or three stories. Units cannot be 
stacked vertically and the idea is restricted to rowhouses, detached houses, or 
terrace houses. Neave Brown's five houses on Winscombe Street in London 
(63) are examples of this type. 

Multiple Vertical Access 

This type can be built up to five stories without elevators in some countries, 
but more often three stories is the limit for walk-up multiple-access buildings. 
Taller buildings can be developed with the use of elevators, but the expense of 



Apartment block, Hamburg. Georg and Michael 

Wellhausen, 1967. 


Towers, Vallingby, Sweden. Ancker and Gate, 1953. 


Apartment blocks, Britz-Buckow-Rudow, Germany. 

Hannskarl Bandel, 1967. 

repeating elevators is an obvious limitation. Multiple vertical access buildings 
were very common in Europe before World War II and the subsequent rapid 
construction of high-rise buildings. Usually, each access stair serves two to 
four units per floor with semiprivate entrance to each apartment. Since the 
system permits vertical stacking, it becomes a kind of vertical rowhouse, or row- 
houses stacked upon rowhouses. In the United States, where multiple fire exits 
are required in housing over two floors, this type has never developed. Typical 
European examples include the Wellhausen project in Hamburg of 1967 (64), 
where the access core is treated as a separate, external element consisting of a 
stair for the three-story block and a stair and elevator for the six-story block, 
and the Candilis, Josic, and Woods walk-ups at Nimes of 1961 (28), where the 
stair for a five-story walk-up is the connecting element between apartment 
blocks, generating a kind of continuous, repetitive building. In the typical 
housing in Germany of the 1920s and 1930s — Siemensstadt, for example 
(38) — the access stairs are internal, between units, with only minor articula- 
tion indicating the position of the stair on the exterior. 

If the vertical access core is greatly extended and centralized, the result is a 
tower, which may be described as a group of units hooked together along a 
vertical street. There are countless variations to the tower plan, but it usually 
consists of several units per floor. Because normally fight is required from all 
sides, a freestanding building (point block) usually results, such as Mies' Lake 
Shore Drive apartments in Chicago, a twenty-nine story building (7). Some- 
times, however, the tower connects to other, lower buildings like the four 
Ancker and Gate towers at Vallingby (65). At other times the tower is simply 
multiplied and connected together to form the continuous building type like 
the Bandel blocks of 1967 (66). Although different types of units may be used 
with multiple vertical access buildings, the walk-up situation is probably better 
suited for the double-orientation type, and in this respect it is like a rowhouse. 
With the tower, the single-orientation unit type is more typical, with a double- 
orientation, 90° unit at the corner, although again there are countless possible 

Corridor Buildings 

The term "slab,"' implying a tall, long building, is commonly used to describe 
corridor buildings, although a corridor system is not limited to high-rise build- 
ings. Dwelling units in a slab simply align along a continuous corridor that 
has periodic connections to the ground. Building height and vertical access re- 
quirements are a function of building regulations and varying economic con- 
siderations such as elevator costs and other mechanical services. However, 
slab heights vary widely and any optimum condition is more the result of local 
building conditions. 

^ D 



Spangen Quarter, Rotterdam. Michiel Brinkman, 1919. 


Narkomfin Apartments, Moscow. Moses Ginzburg and I. 

Milinis, 1928. 


Bergpolder apartments, Rotterdam. VanTrjen, Maaskant, 

J. A. Brinkman, and van der Vlugt, 1933. 

Corridor buildings come in two basic types, single-loaded and double-loaded, 
and there are many variations of each. Some have corridors every floor, others 
have corridors every second, third, or even fourth floor. Some have corridors 
occurring at different positions in the section at different levels. 

Single-Loaded Corridor Systems 

Buildings of this type generally open to the side away from the corridor and 
hence are commonly used where there may be a preferred view or orientation 
or some undesirable site condition that the unit can, in effect, turn its back to. 
A corridor-every-floor system usually results in a building made up of single- 
orientation units; an alternating corridor system often results in two-level or 
maisonette unit types, with both single and double orientation., Where the cli- 
mate permits, the corridor can remain open (gallery access) and becomes a 
kind of street in the air, a concept evolved in 1919 by Brinkman in the Span- 
gen Quarter in Rotterdam (67) and employed in postwar English housing such 
as Park Hill (2). The Narkomfin collective housing project in Moscow by Ginz- 
burg of 1928 (68) is an enclosed version of an alternate-level gallery-access 

| •-tLi& 





Single-loaded system; corridor every floor. Examples of this type include the 
Bergpolder slab in Rotterdam of 1933 by the team of van Tijen, Maaskant, 
J. A. Brinkman, and van der Vlugt (69), a very early experiment in high-rise 
housing; the Billardon slab at Dijon by Beck of 1954 (56); and Alvar Aalto's 
apartments at Bremen of 1958 (10). 





Single-loaded system; corridor every second floor. This popular type was fre- 
quently used in postwar, low-rise housing. It consists of maisonettes off an ac- 
cess gallery with bedrooms above, often over the corridor. Stirling and 
Gowan's Preston housing at Lancashire of 1961 (11) demonstrates the type: 
three-story buildings with private entrance to a lower level and an access gal- 



Rowhouses. Runcorn, England. James Stirling, 1968. 


El Paraiso apartments, Caracas. Carlos Villaneuva, 1956. 

lery for the upper maisonettes. Stirling's Runcorn housing (70) is perhaps an 
evolutionary development of the same scheme, with the building now five 
stories high and a gallery at the third floor. Here the maisonette on the bottom 
two floors has private entrance at ground level, the gallery gives access to the 
maisonette on the next two floors, and stairs give access to the flat on top, 
which extends over the gallery. Brinkman's Spangen Quarter (67) is a very 
early example of this type. Here the gallery, really an independent structure, 
services upper maisonettes while independent stairs and private entrance give 
access to the two lower units in a four-story building. Le Corbusier s Immeu- 
ble Villas projects (12) are more extravagant: two corridors side by side, one 
service and one public, give access to a huge two-story unit with a double- 
height living room and large terrace. The same idea is also used in much taller 
buildings. For instance, the L'Aero Habitat slab of Bourlier and Ferrier in 
Algiers of 1950 (51) — a thirteen-story building and a series of slabs, one placed 
perpendicular to a steep slope — and Villaneuvas El Paraiso slabs in Caracas 
of 1956 (71). 

Single-loaded system; corridor every third floor. The more unusual types of 
single-loaded, alternate-level corridor buildings position a corridor every third 
floor with stairs up or down to the units that are not at the corridor level. 






December Apartments, Caracas. Carlos Villaneuva, 1956. 


Nytorp apartments, Malmo, Sweden. Jaenecke and Sam- 

uelson, 1959. 

Sometimes there are maisonettes at the corridor level with a smaller apart- 
ment below, sometimes there are larger units below. This is strictly a low-in- 
come housing type except where the maisonette is used, and it is typical of 
high-density, low-income public housing such as Park Hill (2). Slabs with a 
single-loaded corridor only every fourth floor are quite unusual because few 
building codes allow such a considerable inconvenience. However, this kind of 
building is sometimes built in South America; the Villaneuva slab in Caracas, 
the December Apartments (72), is one example. 

Double-Loaded Corridor Systems 

Double-loaded corridor slabs are more numerous than the single-loaded type, 
and a greater variety of types are possible. Able to accommodate either single- 
orientation units (corridor every floor) or double-orientation units (skip-stop}, 
this building type has much greater flexibility than single-loaded buildings./ Le 
Corbusier's Unite d'Habitation at Marseilles of 1952 (46) popularized the dou- 
ble-loaded, skip-stop section, and it appears frequently thereafter in many 





I J 


Double-loaded system; corridor every floor. Double-loaded slabs with a corri- 
dor every floor are especially sophisticated, popular, and practical in the 
United States, where fire codes until recently rendered skip-stop systems vir- 
tually impossible. This type of building is Mies van der Rohe's stock-in-trade. 
His Lake Shore apartments in Chicago of 1948 (7) and the apartments in Balti- 
more (6) are typical and set the pattern for much that was to follow — not only 
in the organization but also in the image of the expensive, glass-walled resi- 
dential skyscraper. Although not as popular in Europe, similar types such as 
the Nytorp slab in Malmo by Jaenecke and Samuelson (73) do on occasion ap- 

Double-loaded system; corridor every second floor. By far the more common 
double-loaded types follow the Marseilles Unite example, with corridors every 
second or third floor. The Lincoln Estate slab by Martin of 1960 in London (5) 
uses a system of corridors every other floor and an interlocking system of two- 
level units with living room at corridor level and internal stairs to bedrooms 
above on the opposite side of the building. 



Unite cTHabitation, Marseilles. Le Corbusier. 1952. 


Apartment block. Neuwil-Wohlen, Switzerland. Metron 



Apartment block, Munich. Fred Angerer, 1960. 

Double-loaded system; corridor every third floor. Le Corbusier's section (74), 
with corridors every third floor, also uses a system of interlocking units. Unlike 
Lincoln Estate, however, the living room has a two-story volume and the bed- 
rooms above run through the building. Entrance to one unit is at the living 
room level and in the other at the balcony level, with the double-orientation 
part of the apartment below. This is a much-copied scheme; other variations 
include the Neuwil block (75) by the Metron group of 1962 (although the 
units here do not interlock) and the Angerer slab at Munich of 1960 (76), a 
similar type with entrance off the corridor to one unit and stairs to units above 
and below. Each apartment here, like the Metron slab, is only one floor high. 
Sert follows this pattern in Peabody Terrace, the married students' housing at 
Harvard (43), one of the few alternate-level corridor buildings built in the 
United States until very recently. 

Double-Loaded Split-Level Systems 

A final variation of the double-loaded corridor system is the split-level type. It 
comes with corridors every second and third floor or with the corridor in alter- 
nating positions in the slab. The idea of the split-level scheme is that one has 
to climb stairs up or down only one-half level from the corridor. Generally, 
both single- and double-orientation units are used to get a mix of large and 
small apartments. The smaller units are usually single-loaded along one side 
of the corridor while the larger are split-level, usually with sleeping spaces on 
one side and living area on the other for a double-orientation, dumbbell type. 

Double-loaded split-level system; corridor every second floor, alternating po- 
sition. An example of this type is the apartment house in Germany by Schmie- 
del of 1960 (49), where the corridor is always double-loaded but asymmetri- 
cally positioned in section in alternating fashion. 



Ramat Hadar apartments, Haifa. Mansfeld and Calder- 

son, 1964. 


Apartment slab. Caracas. Carlos Villaneuva, 1956. 


Apartments, Sausset-les-Pins, France. Andre Bruyere, 


Double-loaded split-level system; corridor every third floor. The Ramat Hadar 
slab at Haifa by Mansfeld and Calderon (77) is the example of this split-level 
arrangement, with the corridor always occurring in the same position in sec- 


Double-loaded split-level system: corridor every third floor, alternating posi- 
tion. This type became well-known from the van den Broek and Bakema tower 
at the Hansa project in Berlin in 1956 (50). Villaneuva, however, was propos- 
ing the same system at about the same time for a slab project in Caracas (78). 
The split-level types not only produce very compact buildings with few corri- 
dors and minimum walk up or down to each apartment but also create some 
spatial expansion within the unit because one can see up or down the stairs 
into opposite halves of the apartment, giving the impression of one large 
space. The alternating-position corridor scheme also gives larger spaces on one 
side at each level, thereby accommodating the need to have larger living 
spaces as well as a mix of unit sizes. 

There are countless variations of each typical section. Some buildings would 
seem to escape classification at all, such as the amorphous group by Bruyere 
in Sausset-les-Pins of 1964 (79) or Habitat by Moshe Safdie in Montreal of 



Habitat, Montreal. Moshe Safdie, 1964. 


Ziggurat, Israel. Leopold Gerstel, 1964. 


Durand apartments, Algiers. Le Corbusier, 1933. 

1964 (80), which, in its built form, does not seem to exhibit any consistent no- 
tion about the combination of units. Still other projects, for instance the Zig- 
gurat in Israel by Gerstel of 1964 (81), do not seem to fit into any building cate- 
gory. Some examples seem bizarre but are really just permutations of stock 
types. Le Corbusier's Durand project in Algiers of 1933 (82), a strange canti- 
levered step-section building, is really just a double-loaded corridor, skip-stop 
type in which units cantilever and diminish in size toward the top of the build- 
ing; Aalto's tower at Bremen (10), which seems quite unconventional, is just a 
simple single-loaded corridor plan. 

Of the thirty-two case studies that follow, it is significant that only four are 
from the United States. Two of the four (Suntop and El Pueblo) are groups of 
semidetached houses of a low-density type, and only two (Peabody Terrace and 
Price Tower) are high-density projects. Among the more common varieties of 
urban housing — the rowhouse, party-wall building, blocks, and slabs — no 
American examples are included; representatives of most of these types can be 
found, but the choice is limited. 

High-density housing in the United States has tended to be either luxury 
high-rise buildings or racially segregated low-income developments. The lux- 
ury housing is publicized and monumentalized (Mies van der Rohe's Lake *w 
Shore Drive apartments in Chicago, for example). But more typical has been 
the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Pruitt-Igoe kind of urban housing — anonymous, over- 
crowded, racially segregated, and economically depressed. It is doubtful if ar- 
chitecture can ever be the means to social deliverance — the problem is one of 
national attitudes and policies. Ironically, the dramatic, explosive demolition 
of the housing slabs in St. Louis (83) happened to buildings which the inhab- 
itants found well designed in some respects but which could not survive an ex- 
tremely hostile socioeconomic environment. If the Pruitt-Igoe slabs had been 
built on the outskirts of almost any European city, they probably would have 
provided useful and acceptable housing. 

Americans, with a continent of land available to them, have traditionally 
taken detached housing as a norm, and until recently a majority of middle- 
class families have been able to afford it. From 1955 to 1975, however, hous- 
ing costs rose at almost twice the rate of income; :! this trend, and the pressures 
of population growth and fuel shortages, suggest that new housing in decades 
to come will be preponderantly in forms other than that of the suburban 
smgle-family home. If higher-density housing is to become the norm for mid- 
dle-income families, Americans will find it beneficial to look to a larger inter- 
national scene for useful housing prototypes. The United States has very few 




Destruction of the Pruitt-Igoe slabs, St. Louis, Missouri, 


that can compare with Spangen Quarter, Siedlung Halen, Frankfurt, or Sie- 
mensstadt; and it has had no national housing exhibitions such as Weissenhof 
or Hansaviertel to which outstanding architects and planners have been in- 

The buildings that follow are presented as case studies of different types of 
housing from throughout the world, beginning with the lower-density building 
types and ending with the high-density types. Included are detached housing 
(excluding the detached single-family house), rowhouses, terrace houses, 
party-wall housing, large courtyard housing, slabs, and towers. Each project is 
described in terms of the history of its development and its importance as a 
housing prototype. They are intended only as a representative sampling; ob- 
viously by no means can all the pertinent housing prototypes be covered in 
thirty-two examples. These particular buildings were chosen because they rep- 
resent well-known models of a particular housing type — the Unite d'Habitation 
of Le Corbusier or Siedlung Halen by Atelier 5 for instance — or because they 
are particularly revealing examples of a type, such as the Vienna Werkbund 
Exposition rowhouse of Lurcat or Michiel Brinkman's Spangen housing. All of 
them, in my judgment, reward study. 

3. From a report published by the National Association of Home Builders, Washing- 
ton, D. C, 1975. The NAHB director of economics derived the contents of this report 
from statistics furnished by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 


Detached and Semidetached 

Suntop Homes Frank Lloyd Wright 
El Pueblo Ribera Court Rudolph M. Schindler 
Daal en Berg Duplex Houses Jan Wils 
Group of Court Houses Mies van der Rohe 
Kingo Houses j0rn Utzon 


Cloverleaf Ground Subdivision, interior perspectives. 

Frank Lloyd Wright, project, 1942. 


Suntop Homes, section. 


Suntop Homes, exterior view. 

Suntop Homes 

Frank Lloyd Wright 


» 1 


sJ "•-. 'JIM M«lflJ ' « VI 

• ^i -i.ii o> •-! •ouii 1 Ht 'Ht IIA» lllf 

The Suntop Homes and Wright's later Cloverleaf Ground Subdivision of 1942 
are important attempts to increase the density of a basic suburban housing 
type, the single-family detached residence. Stylistically and spatially from the 
same mold as Wright's Usonian houses of this period, Suntop may be thought 
of as four Usonian houses placed in each quadrant of a cross formed by two 
perpendicular party walls. The unit in each corner is three floors high; it fea- 
tures ample balcony and terrace space on the upper floors, a carport, double- 
height living room, private entrance, and a private garden. The idea was to 
combine four three-bedroom single-family houses while still maintaining the 
amenities and privacy of the detached single-family residence. 

In each unit the living room on the ground floor opens out to the garden. The 
kitchen and a small dining room occupy the second floor or mezzanine over- 
looking the double-height living room. The master bedroom and a double- 
height bathroom are also on the second level. Two small bedrooms are 
arranged on the third floor, with the remainder of the roof for terrace. The 
Cloverleaf project — really just a deluxe version of Suntop — has an in- 
terior courtyard at the intersection of the party walls, an additional bedroom on 
the second floor, and another bath on the third floor. The second-floor bath, 
originally double-height to allow ventilation from the roof, is reduced to 
one level and vented onto the courtyard. The bedrooms feature balconies on 
the courtyard side. 

Copyright ©The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, 1942; copyright renewed 1970 


Cloverleaf project, unit plans. 


Cloverleaf project, perspective. 

Suntop presents an interesting prototype for multifamily dwellings in a sub- 
urban setting. Only one of the projected four buildings at Ardmore was con- 
structed however, and the idea has inherent difficulties. First, Wright ap- 
parently did not see the space-saving advantage of combining utilities and 
parking areas: each of the four units has its own heating system and a private 
garage. Second, in the equal quadrant or pinwheel plan every building has to 
be approached from four sides and is surrounded by streets that have to be 
crossed to get elsewhere. As a result, in the Cloverleaf development a high 
percentage of the total area is paved to provide access. Another problem with 
the pinwheel notion is that each building is separate and isolated and canno 
be combined with others in any convenient way. There is no economy of multi- 
plication. The site plans are therefore typically unhierarchical: they are made 
up simply of equally spaced, identical buildings. 


Suntop Homes, axonometric 

Plate 1 

El Pueblo Ribera Court, perspective. 

El Pueblo Ribera Court 

Rudolph M. Schindler 

Educated in Vienna and acquainted with the work of Wagner, Hoffmann, the 
Secessionist architects, and particularly Adolf Loos, Schindler became an early 
follower of Frank Lloyd Wright. Doubtless familiar with Wright's Wasmuth 
portfolio of 1910, Schindler came to America in 1914 and by 1917 was working 
for Wright on buildings like the Tokyo Imperial Hotel and the Hollyhock house 
in Hollywood. He even produced the working drawings for the Millard house in 
Pasadena, the first of Wright's precast concrete block houses. Intertwined with 
the impressions derived from this background were others derived from obser- 
vations of Los Angeles. Thus, in El Pueblo Ribera houses references to Loos 
and Wright are fairly easy to see, but equally evident are ideas about outdoor 
living, courtyard or patio houses, and treUised verandas — all benefits of a mild 
climate — as well as the influence of a local building tradition. 

The Lowes house of 1922 at Eagle Rock, designed while Schindler was still 
in Wright's office, anticipated ideas that were worked out the following year in 
El Pueblo Ribera Court. The first Lowes project was a stucco building with a 
very light, airy, wood superstructure of windows and trellises, reminiscent per- 
haps of the highly articulated upper parts of some of Wright's work. Or possi- 
bly the superstructure was simply derived from the Spanish Revival buildings 
with which southern California abounds, an indigenous architecture of white 
stucco walls and timber structure with balconies and roof pergolas. The con- 
cept of a heavy wall supporting fight upper forms may also have been derived 
from Wright and local sources, but it is important that Schindler himself was 
experimenting with concrete walls. He knew about Irving Gill's tilt-slab build- 
ings (Schindler built his own house just across the street from Gill's Dodge 
house of 1916), and in addition to the Millard house he designed the Monolith 
house with Wright in 1919, both of which have concrete walls. The second 
scheme for the Lowes house uses slip-form reinforced concrete, the technique 
employed in El Pueblo Ribera just one year later. 

Schindler was very interested in the bungalow courts that became popular in 
southern California in the second decade of the century. Designed as small va- 
cation cottages near the ocean, El Pueblo Ribera is similar in some respects to 
Gills bungalow court projects of this period, the Lewis Courts at Sierra Madre 
of 1910, and the Horatio West apartments at Santa Monica of 1919. Schindler 
also designed a bungalow court project for Jacob Korsen in 1921, but the really 
important precedent for El Pueblo Ribera was the double house that Schindler 
designed for Clyde Chase and himself in Hollywood in 1922. Two houses, each 
an L-shape, interlock onto a common kitchen and a guest suite but are rotated 
ninety degrees so that each opens onto a completely private patio enclosed by 
the back of one unit and a series of hedges. There are private entrances on 
each side, resulting in movement through the house from the closed side to the 
open patio. The plan changed with El Pueblo Ribera from an L to a U, but the 
effect is the same: private patio with the house opening onto it. Solid walls, 


El Pueblo Ribera Court, axonometric. 


El Pueblo Ribera Court, general view. 


Monolith Home, perspective. R. M. Schindler and Frank 

Lloyd Wright, project, 1919. 


Buck house, plan. R. M. Schindler, Los Angeles, 1934. 


Schindler residence, plan. R. M. Schindler. Hollywood. 



El Pueblo Ribera Court, plan. 

sliding wood and glass doors, transom windows, and wooden roof structure 
constitute an architectural vocabulary shared by both buildings. This is a 
theme Schindler was to use over and over again in countless variations in both 
his projects and buildings. The Buck house of 1934, for example, is just a vari- 
ation of the L or U parti. 

El Pueblo Ribera units are U-shaped, with kitchen, bedrooms, and bath in the 
two smaller side wings and a large central living room in the middle. The side 
wings protruding past the living room give access to the hedged-in patio. Out- 
side stairs lead to a roof terrace that can be used for sleeping in hot weather. It 


•::- ___/_J 


B t I V L; v [ . . > 

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sl JC-. hTf~3f L:lj33 - ■ :(. > CTs - t 



UEi-IDEAiCt Of: 

m*- AM. J. J. 5UCK 
LOi AftGELti), CALIf. 
I q 5 4 

5 10 


El Pueblo Ribera Court, view from the patio of a typical 



Schindler residence, view from the garden. 


El Pueblo Ribera Court, view from the patio of a typical 

is covered with a wooden trellis from which a canvas awning could be sus- 
pended, and from the terrace one can view the ocean. The unit was made of 
slip-formed concrete, over the objections of both the client and the lending in- 
stitutions — objections that proved to be well-founded, since apparently the roof 
leaked badly, rendering the unit virtually uninhabitable when it rained. The 
perimeter concrete wall of each house has few openings on the sides away 
from the patio. The patio side, however, opens entirely onto this private garden 
space with operating windows, wood frame sliding glass doors, and transom 
windows, producing an interior flooded with natural light. The walls at each 
side of the living room — the intersection of the legs of the U-plan — extend 
above the top of the perimeter wall and provide support for the roof trellis. 
The standard U-shaped unit fits together with other units in a variety of 
ways, but always the principle of patio privacy is maintained, the backs of ad- 
jacent houses or hedges making the necessary enclosure. The site arrange- 


ment and single-story building height ensure that sunlight reaches every patio 
space. Parking is provided in common garages, with only a short walk re- 
quired to any unit. 

Although El Pueblo Ribera is basically an organization of detached houses 
with private yards and private entrances, there is close to fifty percent land 
coverage and a rather dense population for suburban, single-family living. 
These are really small vacation houses, but it does not take much imagination 
to see how they might be transformed into larger units and still maintain all 
the present amenities. El Pueblo Ribera demonstrates that a suburban life- 
style can be preserved on a fraction of the land area required for the typical 



Huis ter Heide, plan and elevation. Robert van 

project, 1914. 


Cheney house, plan. Frank Lloyd Wright, Oak Park, 1904. 

Country house of precast concrete, perspective. Jan Wils, * 

project. 1918. 


"Fireproof House for 85,000.'* perspective. Wright, 

project. 1906. 

tHoff Daal en Berg Duplex Houses 

DEN HA AG, 1920 

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A founder of the "Stijl" movement (along with Theo van Doesburg, Robert van 
t'Hoff, and J. J. P. Oud) and later a member of the Dutch Functionalism group 
of the twenties and thirties, Jan Wils, like Schindler, was an early proponent of 
Frank Lloyd Wright, whose 1910 portfolio Wasmuth influenced many Dutch 
architects. Both Wils and Robert van t'Hoff had been experimenting with 
Wrightian notions before the founding of the review De Stijl in 1917. Van 
tHoff had seen some of Wright's work in the United States in 1910, and in 
1914 he designed a concrete house— Huis ter Heide— which is obviously copied 
after Wright's early prairie houses but especially resembles the Cheney house 
of 1904 or the Hunt house of 1907. Like both of these houses, van t'Hoff 's 
house employs a three-part symmetrical plan with porches and a central fire- 
place. A cruciform organizationally, the building has solid corners and canti- 
levered roofs. Glass is used symmetrically in the center bay, and planters, 
porches, and outside walls are treated as extensions of this zone. 

Wils, too, was apparendy looking closely at Wright. His 1918 country house 
in precast concrete is nearly identical to Wright's 1906 -'Fireproof House for 
$5,000" or its built version, the Hunt house of 1907. The lateral extension in 
both cases seems to be an entrance trellis leading to a vertical element that is 
presumably a stairway. Closed corners, open central bay, and low outlying 
walls that define the garden or terrace space are part of this vocabulary. Even 
the rendering of the two houses is similar: the angle of view is nearly the same 
and the trees are in positions similar to those in the Wasmuth perspective. 


Daal en Berg duplex houses, axonometric. 


Daal en Berg duplex houses, typical street view. 


Daal en Berg duplex houses, site plan. 


Daal en Berg duplex houses, unit plans. 





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The Daal en Berg buildings of 1920 are really just the 1918 concrete houses 
turned into a group of stucco duplexes. Whereas Wright was dealing mostly 
with the detached house in a suburban milieu, his Dutch counterpart was 
dealing with urban apartments. The transformation from detached house to 
dense duplex was remarkably easy. 

The typical building consists of two two-story houses back-to-back, but 
treated as one building, with living and dining areas, kitchen, and entry below 
and three bedrooms and a bath above. Entrances and stairs for the two houses 
are at opposite sides of the building — the equivalent of the solid corner in the 
Wrightian prototype — so that duplexes can be placed side by side with no loss 
of privacy or light and air. Entrance is from a small walkway into an entry 
hall, where stairs and a sitting room with toilet define the solid corner zone. 
Next is a large living room opening to a front garden separated from the street 
by a low wall. The living room projects out a few feet from the face of the 
house, giving access to the garden past the solid comer of the toilet. The 
kitchen is to the rear, serving a dining area that is spatially part of the living 
room. Upstairs, three bedrooms are arranged around a central hall and bath; 
the master bedroom opens to a balcony. 

There are two typical site arrangements. First, side-by-side duplexes face the 
street, with a small entry walk and garden in both front and rear. The second 
more dense version places duplexes back-to-back in a staggered arrangement, 
so that the kitchens and upstairs rear bedrooms of the rear building get light 
from the entry court of the two buildings in the front. From the street this ar- 
rangement gives the appearance of one continuous building that steps back to 
give entrance. The garden wall also steps back to make a gateway with steps 
up to the entry walk between each duplex. 

Duplexes offer obvious advantages for medium-density urban housing. High- 
rise apartment buildings are usually unattractive for family living because 
play areas must be detached from the apartment; although the outdoor space 
for each duplex is not large, there is a private garden or play area with room 
for large trees and a private entrance. In addition, the placement of living and 
sleeping quarters on different floors is an advantage in a high-density family 
situation. The Wils duplexes are highly articulated, architecturally hierarchical, 
and carefully proportioned — a fine early example of a medium-density housing 
development in a pleasant urban environment. 




Brick house, plan. Mies van der Rohe. project, 1923. 


Barcelona Pavilion, plan. Mies van der Rohe. 1929. 


Berlin Exposition house, unit plan. Mies van der Rohe, 


Group of Court Houses 


Mies van der Rohe 




This project may be thought of as a higher-density version of Mies van der 
Rohe's earlier detached single-family houses. It utilizes a similar architectural 
vocabulary of roof plane independently supported on steel columns, floor-to- 
ceiling glass, and freestanding, sometimes perpendicular, interior walls and 
service elements that define a plan characterized as "free-flowing"; but the 
Court Houses, unlike Mess earlier freestanding projects, are within walled 
courtyards and thus maintain absolute privacy within the unit. Instead of a 
suburban pattern of isolated buildings, a continuous texture of housing results 
— a building mode more suitable to an urban life-style. 

Mies's brick house of 1923 is in many ways the forerunner of the later Court 
Houses project. Like its predecessor, the typical court house consists of a series 
of masonry walls of constant height extending outward from the interior space 
of the house. Perpendicular transparent planes of glass connect to these walls 
and separate internal from external space, though both share common walls. 
A horizontal roof plane rests on the walls, again providing interior and exterior 
with a common surface. Later Mies houses — the Wolf house of 1926 and the 
Herman Lange house of 1928 — utilize additional window systems, but they 
nevertheless represent an architecture of horizontal and vertical masonry 
planes separated by glass. 

In the Barcelona Pavilion of 1929 — also a system of perpendicular planes — 
the roof is supported by a regular grid of composite steel angle columns. Freed 
of any supportive role, the walls are clearly independent of the structural grid 
but continue to slide past both internal and external space and to be separated 
by glass planes. Service elements are also independent of the column grid, and 
the entire system rests on a definite podium. Although Mies had used a steel- 
frame system before — hi the apartments at the Weissenhof exhibition of 1927 
— the free-plan notions at Barcelona are definitely post- Weissenhof phenom- 
ena, and one may surmise that Mies's discovery of the hberated-column grid 
came from Le Corbusiers two buildings at Weissenhof, where exposed com- 
posite steel and round columns were used. Most post-1927 Mies buildings 
(until the Chicago experience, where the column migrates to the edge of the 
floor slab) employ a "Dom-ino" type of regular structural grid: a cantilever 
floor slab with the column inside the outside edge of the slab. This can be seen 
in the Tugendhat house of 1930, the Berlin Exposition house of 1931, the 
Court House project of 1931, the House with Three Courts of 1934, and the 
Courtyard Houses of 1938. 

The typical unit in the Court House project uses the wall and column combi- 
nations of the earlier buildings and is the predecessor of the House with Three 
Courts. Although there are different unit types — T-plans, L-plans, rectangular 
plans, some with fireplaces, some with guest houses and pools — all incorporate 
the basic ideas of the House with Three Courts: regular structural-column grid 
on a raised gridded podium, a compound totally enclosed by defining walls, 


Group of Court Houses, axonometric (hypothetical ar- 


House with Three Courts, plan. Mies van der Rohe. 
project, 1934. 

and a set of hierarchically-sized garden spaces (small for bedrooms, larger for 
living rooms, and larger still for entry, pool, or guest house). 

The typical single-family detached house, set back from the street and away 
from adjacent houses (as required by most building codes) and arranged so 
that the major spaces of the house open to a space in front of the house that is 
not closed off from the street, seems rather at odds with an urban society's 
need for privacy and security. The Court Houses offer absolute privacy: the 
space along the street belongs to the house instead of the street through the 
simple act of enclosing that space within walls. Other advantages include the 
uncomplicated system of construction, flexibility of size and arrangement, and 
adaptability to problems of orientation. Although Mies's arrangement here 
shows a housing pattern of rather low density — usually unsuitable for urban 
living — it is not difficult to imagine a two-story or duplex version with similar 
properties of privacy and simple construction but with increased density. 

10 20 



Kingo Houses, site plan. 


Kingo Houses, typical unit plan. 

Kingo Houses 

J0rn Utzon 

Building in Denmark has been somewhat outside the European mainstream 
of modern architecture. At the turn of the century a reaction to industrialization 
resulted in a bias in favor of national arts and crafts — a form of national roman- 
ticism. By the thirties people like Kay Fisker and C. F. Moller were making 
reference to the International Style in their Copenhagen housing projects: long, 
low-rise, garden apartments with balconies and shops below. But many of the 
wartime and postwar architects abandoned any International Style overtones 
and reverted to a kind of arts and crafts version of housing, in which apart- 
ments were made to appear to be detached, freestanding single-family houses 
with steep sloping roofs and brick detail. Arne Jacobsen probably brought full- 
blown International Style architecture to Denmark with his glass and steel 
corporate buildings such as the SAS air terminal in Copenhagen of the early 
fifties. However, he remained in touch with the arts and crafts movement, and 
the worldwide popularity of "Danish Modern*' in the fifties can perhaps be traced 
to Jacobsen's furniture and the famous "egg" chairs. This national handicraft 
tradition was manifest in Jacobsen's buildings as well. His Klampenborg ter- 
race houses of 1950 seem to refer back to a traditional Danish architecture: 
brick buildings with sloping tile roofs and chimneys, with external spaces that 
are clearly defined and enclosed but arranged with a very open relation to 
nature in mind. 

This combination of modern and traditional vocabulary seems to be a part of 
Utzon's architecture as well. Although probably eschewing the Bauhaus refer- 
ence that Jacobsen might have made and clearly rejecting the rather parochial 
brand of national housing characteristic of postwar Denmark, Utzon still looks 
at traditional notions through the eyes of a modernist. His own house of 1952, 
a long, low, frame building with brick walls and expansive glass privately en- 
sconced in a forest clearing, is but a modern version of the traditional Danish 
farmhouse — rectangular, brick, sprawling, but cozy. 

Similarly, the Elsinore project of 1956 and the court houses at Fredensborg 
of 1962 attempt to fuse modern needs with traditional ideas. Sixty-three sepa- 
rate houses are grouped together on a gently undulating site. Consolidated to 
achieve common automobile access, collective open space, and building econ- 
omy, the farmhouse — with its sloping tile roof, dominant chimney, and same- 
sized windows — has here been transformed to meet a modern need. The result- 
ing irregular site plan establishes several different typical orientations and 
building connections. Houses are arranged in a loose group with restricted ac- 
cess for the car and an entry on one side; the other side opens to a pond, a 
slope, or some other aspect of a very picturesque setting. A more or less ran- 
dom grouping results, but the impression is of repetitive units. 

Although there are several different plans, each house has a courtyard about 
50 feet square that is defined by a brick wall. Attached to two walls of the 
court and opening onto it is an L-shaped house; a tile roof slopes from the top 


Kingo Houses, axonometric. 


Kingo Houses, view. 


Kingo Houses, typical section. 

of the wall down to the house's inside edge. Entry is usually into the intersec- 
tion of the legs of the L, with dining and living spaces in one direction, bed- 
rooms in the other. Variations include garages, studio or workshop spaces, or 
simply sheds attached to other sides of the court — endless do-it-yourself addi- 
tions seem possible. Similarly, the courtyard space itself can be varied in many 
ways: paving, vegetable gardens, large trees. The exterior wall is high enough 
to give ample slope to the roof while still allowing adequate depth and height 
to the interior rooms. Where there is no adjacent building, the wall is lower to 
give views or access to the open parts of the site. The exterior wall is inter- 
rupted only by small windows for the kitchen or baths; the garden side of each 
house is mostly glazed, however, orienting the unit in that direction. Overall 
consistency is maintained by the repetition of brick, higher chimneys, and tile, 
which appeal's not only on the roofs but as coping on walls and chimney tops 
as well. Constant slope on roofs and copings adds another note of consistency. 
Although the plan of each house is clear, the organization of the site seems 
random; relationships to other buildings do not seem specific, and it is proba- 
bly significant that the later project at Fredensborg incorporated a community 
center — a gesture to community life that the Kingo Houses could not claim. 
Though they were isolated in the countryside — an Utzon preference — the court 
houses would seem to be an even more useful urban housing prototype. Abso- 
lute privacy is guaranteed and each is a very secure, self-contained living en- 
vironment. Perhaps derived from Jacobsen's Klampenborg project, the Kingo 
Houses offer most of the advantages of suburban living, including complete 
privacy, but on about half the area. 



Weissenhof Exhibition Mies van der Rohe 
Weissenhof Exhibition J. J. P. Oud 
Werkbund Exposition Andre Lure at 
Ichinomiya Kenzo Tange and Urtec 
Siedlung Halen Atelier 5 
Fleet Road Terrace Housing Neave Brown 

Weissenhof exhibition apartment house, axonometric. 
Mies van der Rohe, Stuttgart, 1927. 


Weissenhof exhibition, site plan (Mies van der Rohe's 

building indicated). 


Weissenhof exhibition, model of first scheme. 

Apartment House 

Mies van der Rohe 

Mies brought together a remarkable international group of young architects at 
the Weissenhofsiedlung, an exposition originally conceived as several serpen- 
tine terraces of more or less continuous buildings of similar height, following 
the contours of the site. The version that was later built was changed to an ar- 
rangement of freestanding buildings still on the slope and following the con- 
tours but discontinuous and of varying heights. Including the work of Gropius, 
Le Corbusier, Hilberseimer, the Taut brothers, Hans Scharoun, J. J. P. Oud, 
Mart Stam, and others, the completed project exhibited a remarkable stylistic 
consistency and clearly established what Hitchcock was later to name the "In- 
ternational Style." 

The Mies apartment house is by far the largest building in the group, its size 
further accentuated by its dominant position at the top of the slope. This was 
one of the few plots level enough to easily accommodate a long, continuous- 
height building. Four floors high with the top floor given over to washrooms 
and terrace, the building is arranged around four internal sets of stairs that 
serve two apartments per floor. A variety of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units 
face the street on one side and on the other open to a narrow garden partly en- 
closed with a low wall. This facade is more open, with stairs leading down to 
the garden. The frame construction is readily apparent on both elevations. Al- 
though the frame is in the outside wall and therefore regularly interrupts that 
surface, a definite horizontal effect is created with large strip windows be- 
tween the frame on both sides of the building. The terrace on the garden side 
opens to the other buildings and the view of the -valley below. 


Weissenhof exhibition, aerial oblique of completed 



Weissenhof exhibition apartment house, plans. Mies van 

der Rohe. 

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This apartment building may have been the prototype for the large housing 
projects that sprang up all over Germany during the 1930s — long, continuous 
buildings with walk-up units arranged around internal stairs. They were white 
stucco with flat roofs, ininimum detail, strip windows, and usually either bal- 
conies or, as with Stuttgart, roof terraces and some kind of garden space. The 
Weissenhof project was probably not subject to the same economic and pro- 
grammatic specifications as the typical siedlung of the years following, and 
consequently the size and variety of units in this building were not typical of 
later municipal housing projects. Still, the building was viewed as a low-cost 
prototype, and standardization and prefabrication were major considerations. 
It is notable that Mies was able to maintain a sense of proportion and elegance 
of detail that, although usual for him, was not typical of later projects. In 
housing construction in Germany the popularization of the International Style 
after Stuttgart was synonymous with a vulgarization of detail, and rarely were 
the many projects of the next decade able to match the spaciousness and so- 
phistication of the Stuttgart apartments. 


Weissenhof exhibition, site plan (J. J. P. Oud's buildings 


Kiefhoek rowhouses, typical unit plans. J. J. P. Oud, Rot- 
terdam, 1925. 

Weissenhof exhibition rowhouses, typical unit plans. J. J. 
P. Oud. 


J. J. P. Oud 

T T P Oud and Mart Stam were the only Dutch architects to participate m 
the Stuttgart exhibition. Although there was considerable variety in the apart- 
ments designed by different architects for Weissenhof, the Stam and Oud 
projects were quite similar to Oud's earlier work: the 1924 rowhouses m the 
Hook of Holland and the 1925 Kiefhoek project in Rotterdam. Like them, Weis- 
senhof consists of two-story, repetitive rowhouses with entrance gateways on 
the street and small gardens behind. Although the Stuttgart apartments have 
entrance courtyards with a utility wing on the front and a fall bathupstairs 
and feature larger kitchens, they are still basically like the typical Kiefhoek 
unit with its living room and kitchen below and three small bedrooms above. 
The 'continuous surface of the street side at Kiefhoek has given way to the 
highly concatenated elevation of Weissenhof, with its utility blocks and en- 
trance gates projecting out from the main volume of the building and a more 
distinct definition of each house. This causes some problems because the mam 
entrance from the street is into the courtyard and then into the kitchen, while 
the living room faces the garden— the reverse of Kiefhoek. 





Weissenhof exhibition rowhouses. axonometric. 
J. J. P. Oud. 


Weissenhof exhibition rowhouses, view of entrance side. 
J. J. P. Oud. 

Although the details changed somewhat, both projects were the typical 
Dutch workers' housing of the time— two-story, white stucco units with small 
rooms and minimum services. Compared to the rather extravagant projects of 
Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier at Weissenhof, the Oud rowhouses are 
unpretentious, very clean, and simple— a straightforward solution to the prob- 
lem of low-income housing. 





Vienna Werkbund Exposition, site plan (Andre Lure at' s 
buildings indicated). 

Vienna Werkbund Exposition rowhouses, view of en- 
trance side. Andre Lurcat. 

Vienna Werkbund Exposition rowhouses, garden eleva- 
tion. Andre Lurcat. 

Vienna Werkbund Exposition rowhouses, floor plan. 
Andre Lurcat. 




Andre Lurcat 

V : 

The Austrian version of the Weissenhof exhibition, the Vienna Werkbund Ex- 
position, brought together a second generation of International Style architects 
as well as the older members of the Vienna School, Josef Hoffmann and Adolf 
Loos. Typical of the experimental housing expositions of the period, the Vienna 
project consisted of twenty-seven separate buildings scattered rather randomly 
on a flat, triangular site and containing a total of seventy different apartments 
of varying design and size. 

The Lurcat scheme consists of four three-story rowhouses and is an impor- 
tant prototype for dense, low-rise urban housing. The typical unit faces the 
street with an almost blank wall, a walled-in entrance court with a recessed 
gateway, and a rounded stair tower, also blank, attached to the solid main 
block. The opposite side, which faces a small garden, is very open, with strip 
windows and a breezeway from the entrance court. The ground floor, aside 
from the main entrance into the stair leading to the living areas above, con- 
tains the utility functions. This service level is clearly established in elevation 
by the height of the courtyard wall on the street and by the clerestory windows 
on the garden side. The second level consists of a living room, dining room, 
kitchen, small bath, and small bedroom. Above are two larger bedrooms and 
on top, as a variation of the prototype, a roof terrace opening to the garden 

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Probably the most outstanding building of the exhibition, the Lurcat houses 
are clean and simple but at the same time are unique for several reasons. The 
usual party-wall rowhouse is narrow and long— a depth of about 40 feet— and 
is plagued by dark interior spaces. Lurcat here developed a very narrow unit 
that can go on a shallow lot (the usual rowhouse requires a deep lot); all rooms 
are amply lit and most are the depth of the building. The stairs that come 
forward from the surface of the building provide both needed articulation to 
the usually monotonous rowhouse elevation and a large-scale element that 
makes the building suitable for a variety of urban needs. Another innovation is 
the walled-in entrance courtyard, which offers private space on the street side 
of the building and a transition between the street and the living areas. The 
wall and gateway also help to enliven the elevation. The design allows room 
for considerable flexibility. The roof terrace could easily become another bed- 
room or studio and the breeze way could become another room or, indeed, the 
ground floor could become a separate apartment. This adaptability to changing 
needs and family size makes the Lurgat project a particularly attractive solu- 
tion to present housing problems. 

Vienna Werkbund Exposition rovvhouses, axonometric 
(hypothetical extension). Andre Lurcat. 

Plate 2 


Ichinomiya rowhouses, site plan. 

Ichinomiya rowhouses, two-story-unit plan deft), one- 
story-unit plan (right). 



Kenzo Tange and Urtec 

The Western worid has far centnries tnrned to ^^j^**^ tw0 . 
Si Z2SL has not heen J"— £5^™— a 

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storv units arranged loosely - ound -^™^\^ at e" even second unit. 


the one-story units use two bays-about 23 feet and ^t 

~ StToTI^SSSS STlSSSI -h have a 
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10 20 

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Ichinomiya rowhouses, axonometric. 


Ichinomiya rowhouses, general view. 

the cooking facilities, minimum bath, and stairs. The lower floor of the two- 
story unit is the living area, and sleeping quarters are above. The one-story 
units are divided into four parts consisting of living and dining areas and two 
sleeping rooms. The service zone in each type is articulated by a panel that 
comes forward of the main block and contains a utility wash area. This zone 
also has a lower roof height. The building material is concrete, with contrast- 
ing field stone for the high compound walls. 

Though small by Western standards, the Ichinomiya group is interesting and 
attractive. A dense, repetitive housing form has been achieved at the expense 
of some privacy, although each apartment still has an enclosed garden and 
balconies and the neighborhood is defined by the larger walls. In typical Japa- 
nese fashion, the landscape has been manipulated with apparent ease, and 
Western planners would do well to carefully observe the results. 


Siedlung Halen, site plan. 


Siedlung Halen, house plan. 


Siedlung Halen, aerial view. 

Siedlung Halen 

BERN, 1959-1961 

Atelier 5 





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Coming at a time when the design of housing was particularly problematic- 
high-rise urban buildings were not satisfactory for family living and suburban 
housing was uninteresting and too sparse-Halen seemed to offer a sensible 
alternative that combined many of the best features of both urban and subur- 
ban living. It is a dense, repetitive, communal, multistory project, but at the 
same time it is isolated in a picturesque country setting with the sun, the 
trees, and fresh air. It offers absolute individual privacy and private ownership 
—the presumed amenities of the suburban life-style. 

Halen is uniquely located. Although only three kilometers from the center of 
Bern its physical separation is guaranteed by the existence of a municipal 
woods between the site and the city. Halen consists of eighty-one ten-ace 
houses arranged in two staggered rows on a sloping site. Built on a condomin- 
ium principle, the houses are individually owned but the land and all the 
group facilities, such as the garage, swimming pool, heating plant, club, and 
laundrv. are collectively owned. The units are highly repetitive but there is 
still great variety. Tvpes range from studio units with small gardens to seven- 
room houses, some with additional studios. Most of the houses are three-story 
units of four, five, and six rooms arranged on the slope, with entrance at an in- 
termediate level from a public pedestrian street. The two main types differ ba- 
sicallv in the position of the staircase. In one type the stair is perpendicular to 
the long axis of the house, and in the other, the stair is parallel to the long 
axis Nearlv every bedroom and living area opens onto a completely private 
outdoor space, and kitchens typically open to a courtyard directly off the en- 
trance to each unit. 

10 20 





Siedlung Halen, view from the south. 


Siedlung Halen, detail. 


Siedlung Halen, axonometric. 

Plate 3 


Siedlung Halen, type 380 house and studio, plans and sec- 

Halen has been criticized as being too obviously an eclectic version of the La 
Sainte Baum and Roq and Rob projects of Le Corbusier. This may be so; how- 
ever, the idea of the long slot of space also comes from a typical Swiss building 
form, the medieval houses of Bern, and Halen is really a modern interpretation 
of this design. Halen has also been criticized as being somehow artificial in its 
setting and too small to really function as the independent community it ap- 
pears to be. Nevertheless, Halen has certainly set the standard for the design of 
dense, individual houses in a communal context without the sacrifice of indi- 
vidual privacy. Although the setting is rural, Halen is potentially an urban 
building form: the standards of privacy are a function not of the suburban site 
but rather of careful unit design and arrangement. Halen probably has been 
singularly influential as the model of high-density, low-rise housing in the 
Western world. 


Typical Bedford Square house, plans and section. 


Fleet Road terrace housing, site plan. 

Fleet Road Terrace Housing 

LONDON, 1967 

Neave Brown 


Postwar housing in London was frequently a mixture of high-rise slabs or 
towers and rowhouses usually scattered loosely about the larger buildings. 
This pattern was begun with the Highpoint blocks by the Tecton group in 1933 
and dominated most housing development after about 1947. Examples include 
Churchill Gardens by Powell and Moya (1947), the Golden Lane estate by 
Chamberlin, Powell, and Bon (1953), and the Roehampton and Alton estates 
done by teams of architects for the London County Council (1953). Many of the 
building and urban ideas applied in these projects were derived from Le Cor- 
busier's great theoretical works of the twenties and thirties, Plan Voisin and 
La Ville Radieuse, which established a precedent for building large towers and 
slabs that are freestanding in spaces carved from the existing city. 

Criticism of this pattern of housing was widespread, centering on sociologi- 
cal facts and realistic observations about the nature of urban change. Family 
living in high-rise buildings was a problem in spite of the seductive images of 
rooftop nursery school playgrounds, running tracks, and buildings that stood 
freely in undefiled green countryside — images created by Le Corbusier's Unite 
d'Habitation at Marseilles. Other criticism, perhaps more important, drew at- 
tention to the effect of this kind of building pattern on the "physique" of the 
city. A skeptical attitude was emerging about an urbanism that was destruc- 
tive of the existing urban fabric. Traditionally, housing in the city formed a 
more or less neutral background of repetitive buildings, a texture that was ac- 
centuated by a city's special institutions and public buildings. Although the 
"redent" blocks of Le Corbusier's Ville Radieuse conformed to this tradition, it 
was the tall buildings, the towers of Plan Voisin and the Unite at Marseilles, 
that became the prototypes for much of the housing that was to inundate post- 
war London. 

The most common form of housing in London was the terrace house, the En- 
glish equivalent of the rowhouse. Usually a three- or four-story party-waU 
structure, the terrace house was set back a few feet from the sidewalk by steps 
and small gardens in front and another behind, and established a continuous 
surface along the street. The larger terrace houses were serviced from the rear 
by an alley called the "mews," which also gave access to the stables along the 
alley. Typically, there were small apartments above the stables or garages, a 
row of buildings that was gradually converted to residential use. The resulting 
pattern was parallel rows of housing with open space between. The buildings 
to one side w r ere usually larger and taller than the others, and each unit 
opened to a small, private outdoor space. 

Access to the terrace house was up a few steps from the street to the front 
door and entrance hall. Although there were many plan variations, in most 
cases the living room fronted the street and a large combination kitchen and 
dining area opened to the rear garden. The stair from the entrance hall led 
to the bedrooms on one or two levels above. A basement on the half-level below 


Fleet Road terrace housing, axonometric. 


Typical site arrangement of terrace houses, London. 


Fleet Road terrace housing, five-person-unit plans. 


Fleet Road terrace housing, two- and four-person-unit 


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Fleet Road terrace housing, general view. 


Fleet Road terrace housing, detail. 

the street was often leased as a separate apartment, reached by a stair from 
the sidewalk that led down to a private entrance. The resulting open zone be- 
tween the front of the building and the sidewalk also had many variations, but 
usually doubled as a modest front garden and a source of light for the lower 

The split-level, multiunit section and the parallel rows of low buildings are 
characteristics that the Fleet Road project shares with the typical London ter- 
race house. Neave Brown has also adopted the additional features of a large 



Winscombe Street houses, plans. Neave Brown, London, 



Fleet Road terrace housing, section. 

T* floor plan: Stmg room ami mourn Infami 

two-story unit or maisonette above, small one-floor unit or flat below, balconies 
above, terraces below, and a narrow space providing entrance to the lower 
units. Indeed, Fleet Road is simply a smaller, modern version of the terrace 
house, with integral parking below. 

Set into a neighborhood of intersecting streets and existing buildings, includ- 
ing a four-story sea cadets' training center, Fleet Road combines about seventy 
units into six two- and three-story, parallel rows of terrace apartments. Sets of 
two rows of units are serviced from a central pedestrian walkway. The three- 
story row contains two-story, three-bedroom maisonettes on top and one-bedroom 
flats below. The top floor of the maisonette, the living room area, opens 
to a balcony, while the entry level connects across the walkway to a semipri- 
vate terrace on the roof of the apartment on the opposite side. Access to the 
one-bedroom units below is from the walkway. These lower apartments open 
directly to private courtyards either at grade or on top of the adjacent parking 
structure. The lower walkway is open except where the bridges above cross to 
the terraces, allowing light to penetrate down to the lower level. The two- 
bedroom unit is a split-level variation of the one-bedroom unit, with entrance at 
grade to the kitchen and with stairs up half a level to the bedrooms and down 
half a level to the living room, which also opens to a private courtyard. 

The plan, peculiar to the terrace house, that makes the dining area part of 
an enlarged kitchen has been incorporated into Fleet Road, although the liv- 
ing room has been moved to the upper level of the maisonette to form an adult 
suite with the master bedroom. This is a strategy that Neave Brown also em- 
ployed in 1966 with his own houses at 19 Winscombe Street. 

Fleet Road is an important prototype because it demonstrates that a high- 
density form of housing with outdoor space for each dwelling can be achieved 
without giving up individual privacy. This project may be seen as a modern 
version of an existing, traditional form of housing — the terrace house — 
designed to be a discrete, ameliorative insertion achieved without the 
destruction of the urban housing fabric that accompanied so much housing 
construction of the past thirty years. Although Fleet Road was preceded 
by other examples of high-density, low-rise housing such as the Amis, Howell, 
Killick, and Partridge rowhouses in Hampstead of 1956 and Brown's Wins- 
combe Street houses, this project was significant as a model for the return 
to a more traditional building form as the basic housing type. 


Party-Wall Housing 

25 bis Rue Franklin Apartments Auguste Perret 
Avenue de Versailles Apartments Jean Ginsberg 
Porte Molitor Apartments Le Corbusier 
Casa Rustici Lingeri and Terragni 
Parklaan Apartments W. van Tijen 

Rue Franklin Apartments, axonometric. 


, Rue Franklin Apartments, typical unit plan. 

25 bis Rue Franklin Apartments 

PARIS, 1903 

Auguste Perret 

10 20 


Although Perret's early masterpiece has been much discussed as the first 
building to really express an architecture of reinforced concrete, it is perhaps 
more important as the first clear application of the technology of modern archi- 
tecture — here the reinforced concrete frame — to a traditional housing type, the 
party-wall townhouse. An extension of the nineteenth-century fondness for art 
nouveau decoration, neoclassical symmetry, and commercial iron building de- 
tails, the Franklin Apartments are nevertheless a precursor of modern archi- 
tectural tastes. Perret inventions such as the exposed frame, glass block, flat 
roofs and roof terraces, flush glass detailing, and a very open plan that can 
only be thought of as the predecessor of the free plan quite obviously excited 
the following generation of architects. And although Le Corbusier, who worked 
in the Perret atelier in 1908 and 1909, would not have liked to credit Perret 
with the idea, obviously the Franklin Apartments conjured up fantasies of 
buildings set off the ground on columns, of freestanding towers (possible with 
a reinforced concrete frame), of cafes on flat roofs, and of cities that were built 
upon a grid of concrete piles and would house all of the services of urban life. 
It is a short step indeed from the pipe rails and terrace planters of Rue Frank- 
lin to the roof gardens of the Oenvre complete. 

Perret carried on the Parisian tradition of shops below and elaborate roof 
structure above, but he probably introduced several new variations to the 
theme. In his version, the shops incorporated two floors, becoming a two- 
story-high space with a mezzanine level (this was Perret's office and another 
Corbusian adoption); elaborate penthouse apartments above opened to terraces 
as the building stepped back for the top three floors. The floors above the street 
were treated much like typical Parisian masonry construction of the period, al- 
though there are cues to the concrete frame within. The surface consists of 
windows as punctures in the wall, implying that the wall is load-bearing. How- 
ever, the masonry wall dissolves at the top, exposing the frame, and at the bot- 
tom the wall becomes a glass surface. 

The building is U-shaped in plan with stairs, elevators, and toilets at the rear 
wall so that each room has a window to the street. Glass block in the stairway 
allows fight to penetrate while maintaining privacy. On a typical floor there is 
one large (almost 2,000 square feet) apartment backed up against the service 
wall. It is arranged around a central, symmetrical suite of rooms — living, din- 
ing, and parlor — with kitchen connecting to the service stair on one side and a 
hallway and one bedroom on the other. The second bedroom adjoins the cen- 
tral spaces at the kitchen side. Both dining area and parlor open to small bal- 
conies. Although the plan is very open — a benefit of the rigid frame — it still fol- 
lows French tradition and is a very rational, comfortable arrangement with 
separate access to bedrooms, service, and baths and an enfilade arrangement 
in the major suite of rooms. 


Rue Franklin Apartments, detail. 


Rue Franklin Apartments, detail. 


Rue Franklin Apartments, view from street. 


While out of the mainstream of modern architecture, Perret's building was 
certainly seminal for the following generation of architects. The typical apart- 
ment is very large even for luxury housing, but it displays many ideas and fea- 
tures that make it a viable modern prototype. Perret has given us a building 
with considerable depth that does not sacrifice any space to a windowless inte- 
rior. Because all rooms face the front and because access and services fall in a 
zone to the rear, lateral extension is feasible and a single-loaded slab with un- 
dulating surface could result. As a party-wall type the large flexible plan could 
easily be reinterpreted as two two-bedroom units of reasonable size. Also, it is 
not difficult to imagine its transformation into a tower open on one, two, or 
three sides and even a flip version, a tower with a central core. Whatever the 
interpretation, the Rue Franklin Apartments inspire sophisticated notions of 
what housing in cities could be like. 




Avenue de Versailles apartments, typical floor plan. 


Avenue de Versailles apartments, penthouse plan. 

Avenue de Versailles Apartments 

PARIS, 1934 

Jean Ginsberg 

Individual party- wall townhouses are of two different types: the double-orienta- 
tion, open-ended unit, which is adjacent to a building on both sides and faces 
front and rear, and the double-orientation, 90° unit on a comer, which faces 
two streets, front and side. Prototypes can be found for each, but the corner 
site, although less common and perhaps more ambiguous because it faces two 
streets more or less equally, offers clear advantages. When party walls are at 
right angles to each other, exterior surface is greatly increased and most 
rooms can now open to a preferred side, with service concentrated at the inte- 
rior corner. Multiple-unit versions of this building type give all apartments a 
frontward organization. 

Fronting a major avenue, avenue de Versailles, and a minor street, rue des 
Patures, Ginsberg's block makes a useful commentary on the corner apart- 
ment building. At first glance the rounded corner suggests that any preference 
for avenue over street was simply ignored. A closer look, however, reveals that 
although the building presents a frontal and planar appearance to both sides, the 
avenue side is made dominant through the use of cantilevered balconies; a 
blank curving wall in the main space of the penthouse apartment on this side 
axially reinforces this dominance. By contrast, the windows on the street side 
are flush and smooth, and balcony and penthouse detail are lacking. 

In plan the strategy has been to extend the party-wall condition from each 
side toward the corner, creating two open-ended party-wall units. A 90° 
one-bedroom unit and a studio are inserted into the front corner of the build- 
ing. A large courtyard introduced at the inside rear corner gives fight and air 
to the interior bedrooms and also provides service to the rear of each of the 
open-ended units. One central stair, elevator, and hallway give access to all 
apartments and together with the baths and kitchens form a central service 
core within the building. 

In section six typical floors are sandwiched between the ground floor (with 
entrance at the corner) and the elaborate three-story penthouse apartment at 
the top. After the seventh floor the building volume begins to step back from 
both streets, forming terraces for the penthouse apartments. The stair connect- 
ing the levels of the penthouse continues the strategy of rounded elements at 
the corner. 

Although the individual apartments in this building are (fissirnilar and 
hardly prototypical, the more general features of entry floor below, penthouse 
above with repeating apartments in between, and the unique building itself, 
are quite prototypical. Ginsberg's skill at packing the corner, at making con- 
nection to adjacent buildings, at piecing together a strip-window vocabulary 
with balconies and terraces, and his sophisticated reference to avenue de Ver- 
sailles as the dominant street, constitute a remarkable ability to resolve one of 
the most difficult of building problems: the corner party-wall site. 


Avenue de Versailles apartments, rue des Patures fa- 


Avenue de Versailles apartments, avenue de Versailles 




Avenue de Versailles apartments, axonometric. 


Porte Molitor apartments, typical floor plan. 


Porte Molitor apartments, penthouse plan. 

Porte Molitor Apartments 

PARIS, 1933 

Le Corbusier 

I L 


Continuing a tradition of Parisian party- wall townhouses, the Porte Molitor 
building where Le Corbusier hived is perhaps less important as a housing pro- 
totype than as a repository of Corbusian ideas about architecture. Although the 
building displays much that was evolving in Le Corbusier's oeuvre, it remains 
an ambiguous building, being perhaps the most experimental of his famous 
housing projects. Still, Porte Molitor is an important building, even as an 
experiment, and reference to it can hardly be avoided since there is not a lot of 
modern party-wall housing — despite its being a traditional urban building 

Like most party-wall buildings in Paris, Porte Molitor is open front and rear 
and has a special arrangement on the first and last floors: Le Corbusier's 
apartment and studio at the top and the main entrance, concierge apartment, 
and service entrance at the bottom. Whereas most party- wall sites face a street 
on one side and either a rear garden or a sendee alley on the other so that 
there is a distinctly preferential condition, here the building faces a street on 
each side. In response to this there are two apartments to the typical floor, one 
facing in each direction, with service walls and stairs on the interior, where a 
large lightwell brings natural light to the entry and baths of each unit and a 
small lightwell with service balcony provides access to each kitchen. The pent- 
house takes up the whole floor, having the studio and a small bedroom at one 
end and living spaces at the other. On the roof is another bedroom with bath 
and a terrace. One enters the building through a skylighted lobby. Also at 
street level are the concierge apartment with private entrance, the service en- 
trance along one side of the service stair, the service elevator, and the ser- 
vants' rooms at the rear of the building. A ramp from the rear gives access to a 
modest garage below, where there are more servants' rooms lighted from the 
rear street by a narrow lightwell. In spite of the small size (about 600 square 
feet), the apartments are exceedingly generous and convenient: two bedrooms, 
two or three baths, either a balcony or continuous sliding windows along the 
outside surface, and a service system that is completely discrete, with servants' 
quarters connecting via service stair and elevator through the rear of each 

Le Corbusier's free plan, so precious and regular in previous buildings, here 
becomes a warped single row of irregularly spaced columns, still freestanding 
but supporting beams that are also supported by the walls on each side. The 
curving entry wall facing the main lightwell in each apartment recalls earlier 
themes of rotund shapes played against regular containers. Porte Molitor could 
be construed to be a party-wall version of the first design for the La Roche 
house, although that particular curve could very well have been derived from 
the bend of the chaise longue of 1927 — a curve that softened in the famous 
bathroom chaise longue in Villa Savoye of 1929, became larger for the interior 
glass wall of the library in the Swiss Pavilion of 1930, and appeared else- 
where as the roof section of Maison Errazuris (1930), and Maison Mathes 


Porte Molitor apartments, entrance facade. 



La Roche house, first project, plan. Le Corbusier, Paris. 



Chaise longue. Le Corbusier, 1929. 


Swiss Pavilion, plan. Le Corbusier, Paris. 1930. 


Porte Molitor apartments, detail. 

(1935), and probably ended up as the major wall at Ronchamp (1950). Other 
idealized notions of Mediterranean villas made of white plaster with vaulted 
roofs and rough stone walls are evident. The Corbusian penthouse might even 
be thought of as a Mediterranean villa attached to the top of a more or less 
conventional townhouse. The plaster and stone preference, doubtless gen- 
erated during Le Corbusier's early travels, probably first appears in the house 
on the lake at Vevey (1925) and continues with Maison Errazuris and Villa 
Mandrot (1930). Even the Swiss Pavilion uses the rubble-wall theme, and it is 
continued beyond Porte Molitor in Maison Mathes, Maison de Weekend (1935). 
and in Ronchamp, where the idea was that the new building should be made 
from the stone rubble of the old. 

Similarly, the vault theme is not new. The very early projects of 1920 and 
1922, Maison Monol and Maison d'Artiste, use this Mediterranean theme, and 
like them the Porte Molitor penthouse vault springs from a wide horizontal lin- 
tel, implying a box with the vault as an added element. The vault can be 
found in Maison de Weekend, Roq and Rob (1949), and in a kind of brutalized 
brick version at Jaoul (1952) and the Sarabhai house (1955). Unlike all these 
vaults, however, the Porte Molitor vaults run perpendicular to the side walls, a 
curious inversion. The idea of the vaulted top for large buildings is another 
theme occurring later in the Retenanstalt office building of 1933 and in the 
Immeuble of the Co-op village project of 1934. The Unite at Marseilles has a 
vault on top and even Ronchamp and the Millowner's Ruilding at Ahmedabad 
and the Governor's Palace at Chandigarh may be but versions of the type. 

While the penthouse is a whitewashed, rubble-walled, vaulted, rustic villa, 
the rest of the building is pure machine age, with steel and glass walls, slid- 
ing doors, steel pipe rails, glass block, and all the other stock Corbusian para- 
phernalia of the period. The precedents here are also easily pursued. The glass 
wall is from Immeuble Clarte (1932), with translucent lower panes that align 
with the railing height (only sliding windows have been replaced with sliding 
doors). Glass block possibly from Clarte via Cite de Refuge (1932) is used, but 
there is some speculation that Le Corbusier got this idea from the Maison de 
Verre by Pierre Chareau, which was completed by the end of 1931 and which 
Le Corbusier is said to have visited frequently. But then Le Corbusier worked 


Maison de Verre, garden facade. Pierre Chareau and Ber- 
nard Brjvoet, Paris, 1930. 
Porte Molitor, detail. 

for Perret for fifteen months and must have seen the glass block in the stair- 
way of the 1903 Rue Franklin Apartments. It is possible, too, that the metal 
framing of Maison de Verre influenced the design of Porte Molitor; it displays 
similar modular propensities. 

Although Porte Molitor is an adaptive building type — that is, a new building 
inserted into an existing milieu— Le Corbusier probably saw in it ideal and pro- 
totypical urban possibilities. From the windows one can see a stadium in a 
park, the kind of view Le Corbusier no doubt envisaged for the Immeuble and 
Plan Voisin projects of the 1920s and later for the Unite d'Habitation: build- 
ings raised off the ground (Porte Molitor's freestanding column at the en- 
trance implies a pilotis system) and freestanding in a park reserved for the ath- 
letic activities required of the Corbusian man. The perspective of the facade in 
the first scheme for Porte Molitor suggests a staggered plan with apartments 
arranged side by side rather than front and rear. A very similar facade reap- 
pears for the Rue Fabert apartments of 1938 in Paris, which are two-level 
units with entry, dining, and living spaces below and bedrooms above, a two- 
story-high space in the living area, and access from an interior vestibule. It is 
a short step from here to the Unite section — an idea that was just possibly de- 
veloping as early as 1933 in Porte Molitor. 

Porte Molitor, axonometric. 

Plate 4 

Casa Rustici, ground floor plan (top), typical floor plan 



Casa Rustici, detail. 

Casa Rustici 

MILAN, 1936-1937 

Pietro Lingeri and Giuseppe Terragni 

The first of the apartment blocks built in Milan by Lingeri and Terragni, Casa 
Sstic7 s basicX a modern adaptation of the traditional Italian courtyard or 
Palazzo building, but without the disadvantage of a small, poorly lighted cor- 
nle It is made up of two parallel slabs connected by transparent balcomes that 
maintain the surface continuity of the facade on the street while permitting 
lieht to enter the large, open courtyard. 
Originally the building was to have been a two-story villa but the owner was 

persuaded to put the villa on top in the form of a lar 8\P enthouS n X"Tthe 
Professional apartments oceupy the floors below, with busmess offices on the 
^ound Zr and garage and services in the basement. The owner s penthouse 
consists of a bedroom wing and a living and dining room wmg connected by a 
bridge. Both wings of the penthouse open to generous terraces 

Access is from the street up a flight of steps to the courtyard level and then 
info the stair and elevator core in each wing On every «°™™- " 
opens to the court, which is partially covered with a glass block ceding. Other 
balconies open from some of the bedrooms both to the courtyard and to the 
outside of each wing; the connecting balconies on the street side open from the 
living rooms. 

10 20 

1 1 I 






Casa Rustici, axonometric. 



Casa Rustici. perspective. 


Casa Rustici, street facade. 

Casa Rustici, street facade. 

Casa Rustici is a highly inventive solution to the problem of designing a 
modern apartment building on a site surrounded by a traditional building 
form. The site is too deep and too wide for a single slab and the decision to put 
two parallel slabs perpendicular to the street and connect them with balconies 
so as to be able to maintain a surface along the street has resulted in an eco- 
nomical and attractive design. Because of the unity given by the balconies, the 
street elevation is probably more successful than the rather literal expression 
of the structural frame on the other elevations. Although the palazzo type is 
usually thought of as a party-wall type— a building that abuts buildings on two 
sides — Casa Rustici occupies a corner site and opens to three sides. Still, the 
courtyard is large enough and open enough that the plan could be easily 
adapted to the typical party-wall situation. 

Parklaan Apartments, ground floor plan. 

Parklaan Apartments 


W. van Tijen 

One of the few Dutch architects who was able to maintain continuity in his 
work before and after World War II was van Tijen, certainly a principal figure 
in the development of modern architecture in the Netherlands. Surrounded by 
fine early housing projects such as Michiel Brinkman's Spangen project of 
1919 and J. J. P. Oud's Kiefhoek estate of 1928 and inspired by such excep- 
tional modern buildings in Rotterdam as the Van Nelle Factory by J. A. Brink- 
man and van der VTugt of 1928, a group of young architects including van 
Tijen, J. B. Bakema, and van den Broek set about establishing Rotterdam as a 
center of housing construction in the decade preceding World War II. Re- 
moved from the immediate influence of older masters such as Berlage in Am- 
sterdam and from the Wendingen group and the expressionistic Amsterdam 
School, these young architects proceeded to design and build a surprising set 
of buildings. Because their work was the result of a rational process — simple, 
straightforward, and without formal preconception — it was immediately la- 
beled "Functionalism." 

The Parklaan Apartments are situated on a narrow corner site that fronts a 
wide, divided, tree-lined, quiet street. They share a party- wall with the next 
building on the park side but are separated from the building on the other side 
by an access drive to the garage. An early example of steel frame construction 
in Rotterdam, the seven-story building, because of its narrow plan, its height 
as compared to the lower adjacent buildings, and the fact that it is detached 
on three sides, gives the impression of a freestanding tower. 

Although the short side of the building faces the major street and entrance is 
from the minor street, the building's frontal relation to Parklaan is clearly es- 
tablished by a garden set back from the street and a cantilevered, metal- 






Parklaan Apartments, axonometric. 



Parklaan Apartments, exterior view. 

paneled extension to the living spaces on this side. Two very modest one- or 
two-bedroom apartments on each typical floor open to small balconies along the 
side street and back up to a tight service core and a central stair and elevator. 
Entrance at the ground level is into a small vestibule, with a one-bedroom 
apartment opening to the garden space in front and a garage and service quar- 
ters in the rear. There is only one apartment at the top, leaving a large, 
fenced-in roof terrace from which the harbor of Rotterdam can be seen over 
the rooftops. 

Roll-down awnings and a balcony overhang protect the glass from the south 
sun and enhance the appearance of a lightweight construction. The canti- 
levered portions of the building, with the glass and metal panels in front and 
metal balustrades on the balconies, also clearly express the lightness of the 
steel framing. The generous use of glass and operating windows — a Dutch tra- 
dition — creates sunny, airy interiors and anticipates the curtain wall, which 
appeared in a full-blown version one year later in the "Rergpolder" steel frame 
slab, also in Rotterdam, done with J. A. Rrinkman and van der Vlugt. It is a 
ten-story, gallery-access slab version of the Parklaan tower. 


Block Housing 

Immeuble Villas Le Corbusier 
Spangen Quarter Michiel Brinkman 
Nirwana Apartments Johannes Duiker 
Hansaviertel Apartments Alvar Aalto 

Immeuble Villas, axonometric. 


Certosa di Ema, plan. Florence, fourteenth century. 


Certosa di Ema, individual monk's quarters, plan. 


Immeuble Villas, unit plans. 


Immeuble Villas, axonometric. 

Immeuble Villas 

PARIS, 1922-1929 
Le Corbusier 

Le Corbusier credits the development of the Immeuble Villas unit, actually 
built as a prototype in the Pavilion de l'Esprit Nouveau in the Paris Interna- 
tional Exposition of 1925, to his observations of the Carthusian monastery near 
Florence, the Certosa di Firenze or Certosa di Ema. The monks' quarters there 
consist of small walled-in houses arranged around a cloister. Each house is 
two stories high and opens to an enclosed L-shaped garden. The Corbusian 
version of this arrangement uses a form of the same approximate dimensions 
— roughly square and two stories high. However, the house has been extended 
to include the small porches, so that it is now an L-shaped solid and the gar- 
den a cubic void. Access is from a corridor on the courtyard side of the build- 
ing, an arrangement approximating the cloister loggia of the monastery. Even 
with these changes, however, the division of the square is the same: the di- 
mensions are almost exactly alike and both are two stories high. The overall 
building configuration is also similar: identical units arranged around the 
periphery of a courtyard with communal functions located elsewhere — on the 
roof of the Immeuble and near the church in the monastery. 

The Immeuble Villas (Le Corbusier's term for an apartment building com- 
posed of multistory villas) were never built aside from the Pavilion de l'Esprit 
Nouveau, but the basic notion of an L-shaped solid arranged around a cubic 

City for three million inhabitants, plan. Le Corbusier, 

project, 1922. 


Immeuble Villas, floor plan. 

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void was a common theme both before and after the pavilion was built. There 
are elements of the idea in the Citrohan projects, the Ozenfant studio, Villa 
Meyer, Maison Cook, the garden side of Villa Garche, and Villa Savoye. Even 
the typical Unite apartment is a variation of the theme. It is obvious why none 
of the Immeuble projects were actually built. Although suitable for detached 
and expensive villas such as Meyer or Savoye, the Immeuble unit was cer- 
tainly less practical in large apartment blocks. The typical three-bedroom Im- 
meuble unit was huge, almost 4,000 square feet, 2,500 square feet of which 
was actual living area. With a double-height garden of 700 square feet, a dou- 
ble-height living room, a maid's room, double baths, exercise room, and sepa- 
rate service and public corridors, the Immeuble was wonderfully extravagant 
and, ironically, incompatible with an image of public housing as being eco- 
nomical because it could be mass-produced. 

Le Corbusier's observations about urban development are equally important 
as a source of ideas leading eventually to the development of the Immeuble 
Villas. Partly the concept stems from Ebenezer Howard's garden city, an idea 
with which Le Corbusier disagreed but which he transformed into a horizontal 
garden city with public gardens in the center of each rectangular block and 
hanging gardens (the terrace) within the unit. Much of the Immeuble Villas 
notion probably also comes from Tony Gamier and his project Cite Indus- 
trielle. Le Corbusier adopted many of Gamier's ideas, and indeed some of the 
early projects like Maisons Dom-ino and the Troyes project of 1919 even look 
like typical Cite Industrielle scenes. The Ville Contemporaine, for example, is 
really just a three-milhon-inhabitant version of Cite Industrielle, with clear 
public and private zones, a simple street network, surrounding garden space, 
and large residential blocks similar to the Immeuble blocks of the Ville Con- 

The Immeuble Villas concept underwent many transformations. This build- 
ing type and its variants were one of the basic building blocks in a pattern of 
urban development that evolved from the Ville Contemporaine, Plan Voison, 
and Ville Radieuse projects of the twenties to the planned reconstruction of 
Saint Die of 1945 and ultimately to the Unites of the fifties and sixties. The 
large rectangular blocks of Ville Contemporaine and the Immeuble Villas 
projects of 1922 and 1925 were adopted in Plan Voison and Ville Radieuse to 
become a continuous building that undulated to form larger and smaller 
spaces and were spread as a kind of uniform texture between large public 
buildings. The typical unit at Pessac in 1923 was basically an Immeuble type, 
as was the solid block studio version, the student housing project for the Uni- 
versity of Paris in 1925. Still other variations include the Wanner project, the 


Immeuble Locatif in Stuttgart, and the Immeuble for Artists, another studio 
version, all of 1928. Finally, the Unite d'Habitation is really the practical 
culmination of the series. All of the elements of the prototype are here: the 
double-height living room, the two-level units, the hanging garden (now a bal- 
cony), the common sendees, and the building set in a dense urban setting with 
garden all around. The Unite in Marseille was the first Immeuble to be ac- 
tually built, the realization of an idea born twenty-six years earlier. 


Spangen Quarter, typical floor plans. 


Spangen Quarter, site plan (left), gallery plan (right). 

Spangen Quarter 

ROTTERDAM, 1919-1921 
Michiel Brinkman 

Part of a district of low-income housing commissioned by the municipal hous- 
ing authority, the Spangen Quarter includes the work of J. J. P. Oud, Jan Wils, 
and Michiel Brinkman, among others. The projects consist mostly of large, 
rectangular, four-story blocks that are typically bleak and anonymous on the 
street but open to garden spaces within. This rather private garden area is 
augmented in the neighborhood by parks and public spaces that open to the 
canals. The idea for the large block probably comes from Berlage and his plan 
for Amsterdam Zuid; it was his preferred prototypical building in his version of 
the garden city. 

Brinkman's project consists of a rectangular block about 470 x 260 feet. It is 
four stories high, with an interior garden divided into two more or less equal 
courtyards that are further divided by wings projecting from the main block. 
The central transverse wing contains all common facilities such as the heating 
plant, laundry, washrooms, and children's play space on the terrace. A net- 
work of pedestrian walks and service streets for vendors connects all areas in- 
side to a few gates and vertical service cores on each side of the block. Access 
is from the street to the interior garden and from there to each individual unit. 

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Spangen Quarter, axonometric. 


Spangen Quarter, garden facade. 


Spangen Quarter, street facade. 


I Spangen Quarter, view of gallery. 

In addition to access at ground level, there is an open, external gallery at the 
third floor that is connected to the ground by stair towers and elevators (for 
vendors' carts) located at each entrance to the block. This elevated street gives 
access to the upper units. The four-story blocks are divided into small 
three-bedroom units on the first and second floors and three-bedroom duplexes 
above. Access to the first two levels is directly from the garden and, to the sec- 
ond level, via independent stairs. The building is plain, mostly wall, on the 
street side. Inside, the surface is highly articulated with many windows and 
balconies. The concrete gallery, a detailed, freestanding structure in contrast 
to the continuous brick surface of the building proper, is of varying width and 
is provided with sitting areas and built-in planters. 

Although stylistically similar to the surrounding buildings and basically rem- 
iniscent of the proto-art nouveau Amsterdam School, Brinkman's Spangen 
block is still a tour de force in its own right. The curse of the four-story walk- 
up apartment is virtually eliminated by the gallery and its elevator connection 
with the upper units. Because it is quite wide, the gallery is also a poor man's 
version of a terrace opening directly off the apartments; it may be used as a 
play space for small children, as a conversation area, for vendors, for bicycle 
storage, and so on. Spangen is especially significant because it seems to antici- 
pate future trends. In particular, the gallery predates Ginzburg's street-in-the- 
sky in Moscow, Le Corbusier's Unites, and English projects of the fifties and 
sixties. Although not industrialized, Spangen also seems to foreshadow the ad- 
vent of mobile, industrialized housing. Its basic idea would readily accommo- 
date stacked modular, mobile units; a gallery, prefabricated like Brinkman's, 
could be added later to give access and fire exit to the units on top. 


Nirwana apartments, site plan. 


Nirwana apartments, typical floor plan. 

Nirwana Apartments 

DEN HAAG, 1927-1930 
Johannes Duiker 


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Like projects by many Dutch architects of the first two decades of the century, 
the early work of Duiker and his sometime partner Bernard Bijvoet was a 
mixture of Berlagian and Amsterdam School notions, a rather literal reinter- 
pretation of the Wendingen publication of early Frank Lloyd Wright projects 
and the elementarism of De Stijl. The house that Duiker and Bijvoet designed 
at Aalsmeer in 1924 is the culminating work of this period, incorporating a 
little bit of all these attitudes. 

After the design of the Diemerburg laundry in 1924— a simple, straightfor- 
ward concrete and glass building — and the Zonnestraal tuberculosis sanitor- 
ium of 1926-1928, a definite functionalistic attitude emerged: a preference for 
industrial glazing, exposed structure, and irregular plans. Zonnestraal became 
the canonical building of the "Nieuwe Zakelijkheid" (the New Functionalism 
group in Holland apparently under the influence of Russian constructivism as 
exported via El Lissitsky, who was visiting in Holland from 1922 to 1926) and 
set the pattern that Duiker and Bijvoefs work would follow until Duiker's 
death in 1935. 

Although only one building was built in the Nirwana project, Duiker's origi- 
nal conception was for a checkerboard system of large blocks connected to- 
gether with external balconies. Beginning as an idea for apartments serviced 
from a central kitchen, Duiker's proposed layout included five blocks. The typi- 
cal floor plan in each block consisted of a central stair and elevator serving 
four apartments, one in each corner. Each apartment had a service elevator to 
the kitchen below. Apparently the service apartment idea did not prove feasi- 
ble and was replaced with a cooperative apartment arrangement. Now with 
independent kitchens, the apartments ranged in size from large (1,150 square 
feet) two-bedroom, two-bath units with maid's room, to huge (2,500 square 
feet) three-bedroom, two-bath units with maid's room. Enormous by Dutch 
standards, this scheme was later altered to provide between four and eight 
units per floor. 

The original plan called for a concrete frame building with continuous canti- 
levered balconies; in the built version balconies cantilever at some corners but 
are integral with the building along each side. (The exterior walls, apparently 
made of concrete with interior cork insulation, leaked, and recent restorations 
have been undertaken to alleviate this problem.) The frame of the built version 
is clearly expressed by clerestory and larger operating windows that extend al- 
most entirely along each side, stepping down to doors that open to the bal- 
conies. The build-up of glass detail toward the corner, along with the diagonal 
windows on some corners and the cantilevered balconies on others, emphasize 
the diagonal or "corner-on" view reminiscent of earlier De Stijl buildings. The 
corner becomes more of an obsession in later Duiker and Bijvoet work; in the 
Open Air School in Amsterdam of 1929 the entire building is rotated forty-five 
degrees to the street, the corner is now a two-way cantilever, and entrance is 
into the corner. 


Nirwana apartments, axonometric. 


Nirwana apartments, detail. 



Nirwana apartments, general view. 

A curious six-story building rather outside the usual repertoire of modern 
housing — towers, slabs, rowhouses, and so on — and in its single-building ver- 
sion hardly inspiring the blessed condition the name might imply, Nirwana 
would still seem to offer a viable alternative for high-density housing. In the 
original version where there were several buildings, a very compact group re- 
sulted. Even though each building was separate, the connecting balconies 
would have given the impression of a continuous building but one open on all 
sides for maximum light and air. 



Summer house, plan. Alvar Aalto, Muuratsalo, 1953. 


City Hall, plan. Alvar Aalto, Saynatsalo, 1950. 

Hansaviertel Apartments 

BERLIN, 1955-1957 

Alvar Aalto 

Alvar Aalto was one of the architects invited to design an experimental build- 
ing for the Interbau Exhibition in the bombed-out Hansa district of Berlin. 
Like most of the projects there, the Aalto block is a freestanding building sur- 
rounded by open space and formally unrelated to neighboring housing projects. 
These apartments incorporate organizational themes that are long-standing in 
the Aalto oeuvre: the atrium house and the roman forum. Aalto's reference to 
these two spatial prototypes is continuous for over forty years, and most of his 
buildings in some way focus upon a courtyard or central void. 

The courtyard may take the form of an enclosed, private outdoor space, as in 
the Villa Mairea of 1938, where the garden and pool area is defined by the 
house on two sides and a stone wall on the other, as in Aalto's summer house 
at Muuratsalo, where a fanned group of structures describes a series of court- 
yards and the main house itself is a courtyard building, or the City Hall at 
Saynatsalo of 1950, where the building is wrapped around a raised, central 
garden. On the other hand, the courtyard may take the form of a large outdoor 
public space like a forum, semienclosed by large buildings, as in the Sanitar- 
ium at Pamio of 1938, where the courtyard space is also the entrance to the 
building, or the University of Jyvaskyla of 1952, where the buildings of the 
campus are built on three sides of an existing track. But the courtyard is not 
limited to external spaces, and central, usually skylit voids occur as interior 
courtyards in many Aalto buildings, notably the Finnish Exhibition of the New 
York World's Fair of 1938, the lobby cafeteria of the Rautatalo office building 
in Helsinki of 1951, the skylit library and upper terrace of the Cultural Center 
at Wolfsburg of 1958, or the main sales area of the Academic Book Store in 
Helsinki of 1966. 

The Hansaviertel block is not the exception to the rule, and two courtyard 
concepts are applied here. Entrance to the building from the street is through 
a partial courtyard formed by the projecting wings into a lobby that may also 
be interpreted as an atrium space. But more importantly, each apartment 
within is itself a miniature atrium house, containing a large paved, outdoor ter- 
race onto which the living room, dining room, and master bedroom open. 

One-, two-, and three-bedroom units as well as studios are available in each 
block, for an unusually wide range of unit types. Kitchen and bathroom ser- 
vices are backed up to adjoining walls and corridor walls, freeing all exterior 
surface for bedroom windows. A separate lobby area with elevator and stairs 
serves each block. 

Aalto's Hansaviertel block is a rather useful urban prototype. Although the 
Berlin building has open space on all sides and the building is planned so 
that windows are required on all sides, only slight modification could make 
it suitable for a continuous building type with preferred sides. The garden- 
apartment-in-the-sky or patio-house-in-the-sky is not a new idea — Le Corbusier 


Hansaviertel apartments, axonometric. 


Hansaviertel apartments, general view. 


Sanitarium, site plan. Alvar Aalto, Pamio, 1938. 


Rautatalo office building, plan. Alvar Aalto, Helsinki, 



Hansaviertel apartments, ground floor plan. 

was proposing a similar idea with his Immeuble Villas projects of the twenties 
— but unlike their predecessors, Aalto's units are well within the size restric- 
tions of typical apartments (1,000 square feet here for a three-bedroom unit as 
compared to 4,000 square feet for Le Corbusier's Immeuble Villas units) and 
are a practical solution to a rather Utopian concept. 



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Immeuble Clarte Le Corbusier 

Narkomfin Apartments Ginzburg and Milinis 

Unite d'Habitation Le Corbusier 

Harumi Apartment House Kunio Maekawa 

Durand Apartments Le Corbusier 

Zomerdijkstraat Atelier Apartments Zanstra, Giesen, 
and Sijmons 

Immeuble Clarte, axonometric. 


Immeuble Clarte, section, 

Immeuble Clarte, typical upper-floor plan (left), ground- 
floor plan (right). 

Immeuble Clarte 

GENEVA, 1930-1932 
Le Corbusier 

The first of Le Corbusier's great apartment buildings to be actually built, Im- 
meuble Clart6 retained many of the virtues of the Immeuble Villas or multi- 
story villas of the twenties, but in an economically more realistic package. The 
two-story units with double-height living rooms are taken from the earlier Im- 
meubles, as are the hanging gardens, which at Clarte take the form of a con- 
tinuous balcony rather than a volume within the framework of the building. 
Clarte was also to set the standard for later developments, particularly the 
Unite projects of the fifties and sixties. The extensive use of glass (locally the 
building was referred to as Maison de Verre), the attached brise-soleil (in this 
case a combination of roll-down awnings and balconies), the public rooftop ter- 
races, the differentiated base upon which the building sets, and the exag- 
gerated entrance all are ideas that were later incorporated into the building 


Immeuble Clarte, entrance facade. 


repertory of Le Corbusier. Clarte became an evolutionary piece leading toward 
the ultimate villa-in-the-sky, the Unite d'Habitation. 

Situated on a difficult sloping site, Immeuble Clarte consists of a slab of 
apartments arranged around two stair and elevator cores set on a platform 
containing several shops, storage, caretaker's quarters, and garage space. The 
shape of the base is a function of the configuration of the site, while the di- 
mensions of the slab are more a function of convenient apartment layout. En- 
trance to the vertical cores of the slab is through two large porticos that 
project up from the platform. The top of the platform serves as terrace space 
for the first level of apartments. 

In many ways Clarte is similar to the Wanner project in Geneva of 1928- 
1929. There, balconies have replaced terraces and the double-loaded, skip-stop 
corridor has been replaced by the double core arrangement, but some apart- 
ments still have double-height living rooms, the roof terraces are public, the 
building steps back toward the top and has much the same general appear- 
ance and proportion as Clarte. There are a variety of apartment types in 
Clarte, including one- and two-story units as well as studios and two- and 
three-bedroom units. Each unit has continuous balcony frontage with the ex- 
ception of a few studio units. The larger two-story units, located along the 
south side and at the ends, include a spacious library and dining room. 

Immeuble Clarte is surely one of the great buildings of the period and one of 
Le Corbusier's important early projects. In recent years the building has been 
poorly maintained, but a group of local architects now own the building and 
are in the process of reconditioning it. 



Narkomfin Apartments, unit plans. 

Narkomfin Apartments, garden facade. 

Narkomfin Apartments 

MOSCOW, 1928 

Moses Ginzburg and I. Milinis 

By the mid-twenties in the Soviet Union it was clear that assigning each fam- 
ily to one room in a traditional apartment building with the bath and kitchen 
used collectively was not an acceptable housing technique and other methods 
would have to be developed. It was equally clear that there was no way to give 
every family a conventional apartment. In response to this problem the Asso- 
ciation of Contemporary Architects (OSA) developed several proposals for com- 
munal houses aimed at providing collective facilities such as a canteen, 
kitchen, gymnasium, library, day nursery, and roof garden as justification for 
reducing the size of the individual unit. The Stroikom Units, as they were 
called, are some of the most interesting and innovative projects of the twenties 
and are certainly precursors of much European housing. 

10 20 

I I L 




Narkomfin Apartments, axonometrie. 

Plate 5 

Narkomfin Apartments, plans, section, and elevation. 


Narkomfin Apartments, perspective. 

p , ih m SI S P -^ ' Pi S i " h !■• ■ ' S ' S - S ' H "H l | 

Narkomfin was an adaptation of two of the OSA units, both of which were 
two-level, through apartments reached by a single-loaded corridor at every 
third floor. Stairs led up and down from this wide so-called "interior street." 
The single-loaded corridor was thought to be preferable to a double-loaded ar- 
rangement because of the natural light along one side. One unit is a one- 
bedroom, two-room apartment and the other a two-bedroom, three-room unit. 
Both have double-height living rooms and minimum kitchen and bath facili- 
ties. The apartments are arranged in a slab raised off the ground. The top and 
ground floors are used for public services. Attached to the slab by the lower 
corridor is a block containing other collective functions. . 

Although never very popular because of their small size, the Narkomfin 
Apartments were an ingenious solution to a housing crisis and are still accept- 
able as studio units. Narkomfin is interesting also because it incorporates sev- 
eral ideas that were later modified and adopted by Le Corbusier: the building 
on pilotis, rooftop public or collective functions, skip-stop corridors, and two- 
level, through apartments. Later variations of the Narkomfin idea brought the 
corridor to the interior in a double-loaded arrangement, which, although much 
smaller, is exactly like the later, now-famous Unite section. 


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Unite d'Habitation, site plan. 


Unite d'Habitation, section and elevation. 

Unite d'Habitation 

MARSEILLES, 1945-1952 

Le Corbusier 







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In the twenty-three years between the first Immeuble Villas project of 1922 
and the beginning of the Unite d'Habitation in 1945, Le Corbusier designed 
over thirty housing developments. Only a few of these were actually built, and 
aside from the ill-fated Bordeaux-Pessac project of 1923 and Le Corbusier' s 
own apartment house, the Marseilles block was the first of the important 
projects to be built in France. It is the culmination of three decades of contin- 
uous development, really the first physical manifestation of all of Le Corbu- 
sier's ideas about the individual family unit, the grouping of units, and the city 

Le Corbusier repeatedly refers to the influence that his 1907 visit to the 
Carthusian monastery on the Ema near Florence had on the development of 
the Unite. Stemming from observations about the monastery— how individual 
units are arranged and then collected together— the Unite evolved from the 
Immeuble projects of the twenties and still shares many of their essential 
characteristics. The large courtyard blocks or continuous buildings of the ear- 
lier period have given way to a seventeen-story slab set off the ground on pi- 
lotis. The slab may occur individually or in multiples but it is always nearly 
the same. The long sides face east and west, as do the through apartments. 
Special apartments are on the south side, and the north wall is blank. There is 
a roof garden, integral brise-soleil and balcony, elevator access from a lobby 
among the pilotis, and in the Marseilles block, two floors of shopping midway 
up the building. The well-known section develops from a circulation system of 
corridors every third floor: access is from the corridor into two-level, through 
apartments that are L-shaped in section and interlock around the corridor. 

The monastery prototype and subsequent examples of the early Immeubles 
up to the buildings that appear in the Ville Radieuse in 1935 are single-loaded 
corridor versions of the skip-stop arrangement. There is speculation that the 
idea of the Unite section was copied from Moses Ginzburg in 1928, when Le 
Corbusier observed the construction of the Narkomfin apartment building in 
Moscow. Perhaps his ideas were reinforced by what he saw there, but the no-, 
tion — spatially — had been around for some time. The section of Villa Carthage 
of 1928 only needs a central corridor to become the typical Unite section. Any 
of the double-height Immeuble types including Garche and Meyer are volumet- 
rically very similar to the Unite section, or at least to half of it. The Immeuble 
Villas of 1922 were a single-loaded, skip-stop arrangement, and the Ginzburg 
section was, after all, based upon a single-loaded, skip-stop corridor, too. At 
any rate, the section was fully developed with Ville Radieuse and was only fur- 
ther refined with the typical unit plans of 1937 and the subsequent develop- 
ment of the brise-soleil. 

After the Rio de Janeiro experience in 1936 and that of Algiers in 1938 Le 
Corbusier greatly increased his emphasis on sun control. The purpose of the 
brise-soleil is to let sun in during the winter and keep it out during the sum- 


Unite d'Habitation, axonometric. 

Plate 6 

Unite d'Habitation, facade. 


Unite d'Habitation, entrance. 


Unite d'Habitation, detail. 


Unite d'Habitation, rooftop. 


Unite d'Habitation, unit section and plans. 


Unite d'Habitation, entrance. 

mer. In his dialogue about sun control Le Corbusier dates the development of 
the brise-soleil with Villa Carthage of 1938, but the brise-soleil as it came to be 
widely used becomes an integral part of the facade in the Algerian projects. 
The standard orientation of a Unite is also a function of the movement of the 
sun: the building is situated so that each apartment gets sunlight sometime 
during the day. 

Le Corbusier designed several variations of the Unite: Nantes-Reze, Briey- 
en-Foret, Berlin, Meaux (not built), and the most recent, Firminy, which was 
finished in 1968. Subsequent versions of the Marseilles block have suffered 
from more stringent economic restrictions. The double-height living room at 
Marseilles is drastically reduced at Nantes-Reze and disappears altogether at 
Firminy, with depressing consequences to the already small space. The articu- 
lation at mid-building afforded by the two-story zone of commercial and office 
space at Marseilles was not possible in later programs, and the results are 
plastically less satisfying. The roofscape, so dear and ideologically essential at 
Marseilles, is but the ghost of its former self at Briey-en-Foret, and Firminy 
has been so cheapened and stripped of excellent detail as to seem to be almost 
of another hand. 

The Unite was not without its problems, and perhaps Lewis Mumford's dis- 
approval of "a monument brilliantly disguised as a housing project" was partly 
deserved. The apartments are too narrow, the hallways long and dark, the 
space under the pilotis not very usable, and of course the supermarket did not 
work (although that space now is mostly used as architects' offices) and, as it 
turned out, was not really for poor people. Still, the Marseilles block is proba- 
bly the most copied building of the twentieth century. Its influence on the form 
of subsequent housing has been profound, and variations of it can be seen in 
almost every country, built under widely varying conditions. It may be a mon- 
ument disguised as housing, but modern housing and the Unite d'Habitation 
are synonymous. 

10 20 


5 10 



Harumi Apartment House, floor plans (top), 
site plan (bottom). 

Harumi Apartment House 

TOKYO, 1958 
Kunio Maekawa 

High-rise buildings until very recently were an anomaly in Tokyo; the Harumi 
slab is one of the exceptions. It is clear from the massive concrete structure 
that earthquake loading was a foremost consideration in this ten-story elevator 
building. Begun in 1956, the Harumi Apartment House was ftie first high-rise 
elevator building to be sponsored by the Japanese Housing Corporation. 

There can be no doubt that contemporary Japanese architecture has been 
greatly influenced by the later work of Le Corbusier. Maekawa, in fact, spent 
two years in Le Corbusier's rue de Sevres atelier, from 1928 to 1930. It is not 
surprising, therefore, that the Harumi slab, although programmatically differ- 
ent from Le Corbusier's Unite at Marseilles built ten years before, shares many 
features of the Unite and might be thought of as its Eastern equivalent. Simi- 
larities include skip-stop corridor arrangements and integral balconies that 


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5 10 



Harumi Apartment House, axonometric. 


Harumi Apartment House, facade. 

also serve as brise-soleil. Although the building does not rest on piloti, its jux- 
taposition with the ground plane is distinguished by a zone of unique apart- 
ments, the lobby, and on one side freestanding stairs that give access to the 
second level. The rooftop, like that of the Unite, is different from the repetitive 
elements of the elevation and terminates the vertical attenuation of the fa- 
cade with a distinct horizontal lid; it is not intended for use by the occupants, 

The apartments, although designed for an upper-middle-income market, are 
very small and consist of one Western and two Eastern style rooms. Access 
from the single-loaded, skip-stop corridor is via stairs up and down from the 
corridor to similar apartments at each level. Each apartment is arranged be- 
tween a storage wall on one side and the shear wall with the service cores 
and stairs on the other. Although probably acceptable for the Japanese market, 
to the Western eye the apartments may be too small and lacking in variety. 

The Unite prototype was intended as a freestanding building setoff the 
ground to allow the groundplane to pass freely beneath and around it. This 
idea has obvious limitations in an urban setting, and Harumi does not rest on 
piloti. Set in a rather dense and random site, Harumi has the capability, by 
virtue of its size, concatenated nature, and its properties as a wall, to organize 
the buildings and spaces around it. Rather than a building in a space like the 
Unite, it is a building that defines a space and is therefore very adaptable as a 
dense, urban version of the Unite. 


Elberfeld Hospital, perspective. Marcel Breuer, project, 



Steamship trunk from the journal U Esprit Nouveau. 


Durand apartments, perspective. 

Durand Apartment Project 

ALGIERS, 1933-1934 

Le Corbusier 

Combining the privacy of low-density terrace housing with the advantages of 
high-rise building, the idea of the stepped-section slab inevitably captivated ar- 
chitects preoccupied with inner city building. Probably no housing type has 
caught their fancy more, and countless versions of it can be found in almost 
any country under a variety of conditions, both as projects and as built exam- 

It is impossible to establish the exact evolution of the stepped slab; reference 
to ancient examples such as the hanging gardens of Babylon or to any hillside 
terrace situation can be made. However, development of the stepped slab is de- 
pendent upon rigid frame construction, and hence it is a distinctly modern in- 
vention. Similarly, it would be difficult to demonstrate exactly where Le Cor- 
busier got the idea for the stepped slab that appears in the Durand project of 
1933. It may have been derived from the stepped-section building on the port 
development of Garnier's Cite Industrielle of 1904 or perhaps from Breuer's 
stepped-slab hospital of 1928. The idea may simply have come from the fusion 
of a Corbusian obsession with mass production and the paraphernalia of indus- 
trialization—particularly metal file cabinets and steamship trunks (preferably 
shown with drawers open)— and a fascination with gardens-in-the-sky as dem- 
onstrated in the Immeuble projects of 1922. 

Durand may be thought of essentially as the typical Immeuble section — two- 
story units with large terrace and double-height interior void— but with units 
slipped past each other in section-like drawers, each unit opening to the ter- 
race on the top of the unit below. Or Durand could be thought of as a precur- 
sor to the Unite d'Habitation: long narrow units two stories high, like row- 
houses in the air, but again slipped past each other to allow terrace space, 
and corridor access every third floor. 

The Durand units are large, ranging here from three-bedroom units of about 
1,200 square feet, not including 300 square feet of terrace, to almost 3,000 
square feet for a four-bedroom unit, not including 500 square feet of terrace. 
Each unit incorporates two-story spaces, and is certainly extravagant by 
today's standards; it is not surprising that the project, like the Immeuble 
Villas, was not built. 


Durand apartments, axonometric. 


Durand apartments, section. 


Apartments, section. Alison and Peter Smithson, project, 



New Brunswick Center, perspective. Patrick Hodgkin- 

son, London, 1958. 



5 10 

The stepped slab has some obvious limitations: units can be stepped back 
only so far before the building becomes structurally unstable. And although 
there is clear logic for stepping back to gain terrace space, the resulting space 
beneath the building on the opposite side is less logical. Durand is only four 
units high (eight floors) but sets on a three-story base of automobile circula- 
tion, parking, and a hotel. Unit size diminishes upward from this base, so that 
both undesirable conditions of the building type — structural instability and un- 
usable space beneath the building void — are reduced. However, the three-story 
base seems to be an unlikely commitment to nonresidential space in a build- 
ing of only eleven floors. 

Stepping to the north, the terraces are equipped with continuous planters 
along the edge and covering pergolas. Together these elements create a fore- 
ground frame to a distant scene. The horizontal pergola redefines the implied 
two-story volume of unit and terrace and is the precedent for the famous brise- 
soleil that emerges in Le Corbusier's later apartment building of the same 
year, also in Algiers. ^ 

Although Durand had its problems, subsequent variations of it have even 
more problems. The Smithsons' proposal of the late fifties is twelve stories 
high with no service base. Horizontal circulation is on the terrace, an obvious 
contradiction to any notion of terrace privacy, which is further impaired at the 
ground floor because there is no separation between ground level and the first 
level of the bottom unit. The Smithson section is so narrow that a curving plan 
is required for lateral stability. If the typical units of Durand are huge, the 
Smithson units are ridiculously small, a kind of welfare state version of a 
grand idea even though the typical unit, like that at Durand, still has a double- 
height space. 

Other attempts to mimic Durand, such as Hodgkinson's New Brunswick 
Center, a diminutive version of back-to-back Durands, have also not met with 
great success. The tremendous interior void between stepped slabs is essen- 
tially useless. Still, the idea remains attractive and probably viable. If energy 
shortages limit urban dispersion, it is likely that demand will increase for 
higher density forms of living that feature self-contained outdoor living spaces. 
The stepped slab is an obvious prototype for this kind of housing. 


Zomerdijkstraat atelier apartments, section. 


Zomerdijkstraat atelier apartments, typical unit plans. 


Zomerdijkstraat atelier apartments, interior. 

Zomerdijkstraat Atelier Apartments 


P. Zanstra, J. H. L. Giesen, and K. L. Sijmons 

Apartment design is usually programmatically and functionally specific and 
consequently not very adaptable or easily changed. In this project for a block 
of apartments with studios, the strategy has been to provide a large studio 
space in each unit, with smaller spaces — the bedrooms, kitchen, and bath — as 
adjoining support areas. The central studio areas have high ceilings, and their 
large industrial-type windows face the street. The support functions, located in 
a zone on the opposite side of the building, have low ceilings and are on either 
one or two levels, depending on the size of the unit. The studio space can also 
be used as a multipurpose family living room. 

There are several different split-level apartment types. The larger units have 
a kitchen, dining room, and small bedroom at the studio level and two bed- 
rooms with bath above. Access to the upper level is by a small open stair on 
the support side of the studio. A variation of this is a one-bedroom unit with 
kitchen and dining area below and one bedroom with bath above. The small 
units have a kitchen, bath, dining, and sleeping space on a mezzanine that is 
connected to the studio level by a ladder. The three-bedroom units on the 
ground floor are somewhat larger than the typical three-bedroom unit because 
they are flush with the building line, while the main block of the slab sets 
back from the building line. Access is from repetitive stair and elevator cores 
in the support zone that serve two apartments per level. 

10 20 


5 10 


Zomerdijkstraat atelier apartments, axonometric. 


Zomerdijkstraat atelier apartments, street facade. 

The building is simple and straightforward. The sectional idea of having 
large volumes on one half and the low-ceiling support on the other is consis- 
tently treated elevationally with a very flat surface and large areas of indus- 
trial sash on the studio side and small strip windows and balconies on the sup- 
port side. Although the apartments are quite large and therefore probably not 
competitive economically, they are certainly attractive spatially and offer a 
high degree of potential user flexibility. 



Victorieplein Tower J. F. Staal 
Hoogbouw Towers Duiker and Wiebenga 
Price Tower Frank Lloyd Wright 
Neue Vahr Apartments Alvar Aalto 
Hansaviertel Tower van den Broek and Bakema 
Peabody Terrace Sert, Jackson, and Gourley 

Victorieplein Tower, axonometric. 


Victorieplein Tower, floor plans. 


Victorieplein Tower, main facade. 

Victorieplein Tower 


J. F. Staal 

Staal was a protege of Berlage and earlier had been part of the so-called Am- 
sterdam School. After about 1925 there was a general merging of Wendingen, 
De Stijl, and Functionalism, and Staal was one of the few personalities of the 
period who was able to capture and use the best ideas of each movement. 
Staal's work changes from a rather picturesque image of building — much 
under the influence of Berlage — around 1916-1925, to a much more doctri- 
naire, Functionalistic image by 1930. The Victorieplein Tower belongs to the 
later period and clearly is a composite of the formal ideas of the Wendingen 
group and the manipulations of detail and infatuations with jointure and the 
corner of De Stijl. 


Aerial view of a portion of H. P. Berlage's "Amsterdam 
South" plan of 1915. The Victorieplein Tower occupies the 
axially dominant position in the lower right-hand corner. 


Victorieplein Tower, garden facade. 

Apartment towers of this period are unusual, particularly in Amsterdam, 
where soil conditions require pile foundations. Built on a Y-shaped site (the re- 
sult of Berlage planning), the tower makes a strong statement about the use of 
the "point block" and stands out because it is much higher than the surround- 
ing buildings and faces an open park space. It can be seen from some distance 
and dominates the surrounding space. 

-Victorieplein, which is thirteen stories high, is actually an H-shape in plan: 
two distinct parallel wings connected by a service core of stairs and elevators. 
The dominant stair on the entrance side is glass-enclosed and revealed to dis- 
tinguish the entrance. Two different kinds of two-bedroom units are symmetri- 
cally arranged around the vertical core. Elements of Berlage theory may be 
seen in the symmetrical plans and in the axial properties of both the exterior 
glass-enclosed stair and the site, which was made to order for a tower. How- 
ever, the influence of De Stijl and Functionalism has crept in with the exten- 
sive use of industrial glass on the front elevation for the main stair and balcony 
areas. Glass planes that turn the corner and balconies at the corner simulta- 
neously emphasize and dissolve the corner— ideas reminiscent of De Stijl. 


Hoogbouw towers, perspective. 


Hoogbouw towers, floor plan. 

Hoogbouw Towers 

AMSTERDAM, 1927-1929 

Johannes Duiker and J. G. Wiebenga 

In 1930 Johannes Duiker and his partner at the time, J. G. Wiebenga, an engi- 
neer, published the book Hoogbouw. Literally "high-rise building," Hoogbouw 
was the published record of Duiker's ideas about housing. Along with setting 
municipal standards for housing, the book contained the design for a prototypi- 
cal tower, including drawings of a typical group of towers. Duiker's ideas 
about housing are clear from articles that he wrote as editor of the magazine 
de 8 en Opbouiv (see the November 1971 and January 1972 special issues of 
Forum). He found many advantages in high-rise building and considered this 
the ultimate move away from what he saw as the bourgeois attitude that each 
person should own his house and garden. High-rise building would free ground 
space for other activities and, in addition to the obvious building economies, 
would offer overall urban economies as well. 

Hoogbouw, then, becomes the rather schematic product of Duiker's ideas 
about modern housing. Thirteen-story towers on an open site evidently consti- 
tute a typical arrangement. The typical tower contains four two-bedroom 
apartments back-to-back in two radiating wings, with four two-bedroom units 
back-to-back in the remaining opposite wings. The simple apartment plans 
consist of a hallway leading past the bedrooms to a living and dining space at 
the end that opens to a corner balcony. The wings with the two-bedroom apart- 
ments tend to form a wall running east and west to which the radiating wings 

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Hoogbouw towers, axonometric. 


Hoogbouw towers, plans, elevation, and section. 


Hoogbouw towers, site plan. 

connect. All four wings in each building connect to a central curving elevator 
lobby. Each tower steps up from a base where two additional two-bedroom 
units on the bottom floors connect opposing east and west wings and begin to 
give the impression of a continuous, undulating building. Each lobby is en- 
tered from the curving courtyard and there is a breezeway between towers to 
the open space behind. 

The rationale of the building plan seems clear: the radiating scheme lets 
light and air into each room. Similarly, there would seem to be clear logic for 
establishing the undulating wall: to give surface to the street. The logic of the 
site plan is less clear, however; if the wall orients the building toward the 
street with the radiating portion opening to the park, then there is an obvious 
contradiction where the radiating wings face the street on the opposite side of 
the group. Sun orientation may have been important with the radiating wings 
facing south, but still there are north-facing apartments, although they are 
kept to a minimum. The back-to-back apartment plans could easily be trans- 
formed to a double-loaded corridor slab on the wings that face the street; this 
is implied where the buildings connect together at the bottom floors. 

It is conceivable that Hoogbouw simply represents the Dutch version of Le 
Corbusier's Plan Voisin of 1925: freestanding towers in a park-like landscape. 
In Plan Voisin, however, the towers were much taller (which Amsterdam soil 
conditions would probably disallow) and, significantly, they were office build- 
ings and not housing, which was relegated to the lower Immeuble blocks. 
Hoogbouw combines the tower and the Immeuble, implying both high and low 
buildings. Amsterdam, of course, has been able to achieve high density with- 
out much high-rise construction, and nothing like Duiker's project has been 
built. The Dutch are more inclined to prefer lower, more compact living after 
the manner of Berlage's Mercatorplein housing of 1927 or the more recent 
projects by van Tijen and the van den Broek/Bakema partnership: low, dense 
buildings with both public and private spaces and a much smaller scale de- 



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Price Tower, section. 


St. Mark's Tower, plan. Frank Lloyd Wright, New York 


Price Tower 

Frank Lloyd Wright 





The Price Tower was the realization of an idea Wright had developed twenty- 
seven years earlier in New York City's St. Mark's Tower of 1929. It was not 
unusual for Wright to repeat a particular building idea: the use ofjcruciform 
plans in his earlier work is well known. Similarly, the California block houses 
and the Usonian houses of the twenties and thirties are recurring Wrightian 

While St. Mark's was a design for a freestanding tower, and the cantilevered, 
tree-like construction and the crossed-wall ideas were radically new, the super- 
imposition of a diagonal organization (here a square rotated thirty degrees) 
was not. Wright had been experimenting with diagonal impositions for some 
time, beginning with the Lake Tahoe project of 1922 (where the cabin plans 
were a kind of superimposed grid), Taliesin at Spring Green of 1925, and San 
Marcos in the Desert of 1927, which uses a hexagonal system. 

Experiments with towers or rotated square configurations and crossed-wall 
interior cores continued after St. Mark's Tower. The 1930 Grouped Apartment 
Towers for Chicago are really just St. Mark's repeated ten times in pairs and 
connected together, forming a continuous, undulating slab twenty-five stories 
high rather than the nineteen of St. Mark's. The tower appears again in Broad- 
acre City of 1934; and in 1936 the Laboratory Tower at Johnson and Sons, al- 
though not made of rotated squares in plan, is still a version of the principle of 
cantilevering floors from a central core. Suntop Homes of 1939 is but an unro- 
tated version: a typical two-floor apartment from St. Mark's adapted for family 
use and set upon the ground in suburban Philadelphia. It is all there: crossed- 
walls, two-story living room at the corner, balconies, and three floors because 
there were extra bedrooms in the program. And in 1940 yet another version of 
St. Mark's appears— this time in cluster form with towers of varying heights 
on a substantial platform— in the Crystal Heights Hotel project for Washing- 
ton, D.C. 

In between these larger projects Wright was applying some of the same prin- 
ciples in his houses. The superimposed diagonal arrangement can be seen in 
the Willey house (1934); the Hanna house, with its hexagonal system (1937); 
and Taliesin West (1938), which is a kind of expanded Willey plan with some' 
buildings belonging to the diagonal system. The Herbert Johnson house of 
1937 is nothing more than the core system of St. Mark's enlarged to such a 
scale that the spaces of the house are now incorporated within the core config- 
uration and exterior space consists of the voids at the corners. 

When St. Mark's was finally built in the form of the Price Tower at Bartles- 
ville, the program had changed. The apartment building rising abruptly from 
the ground without adjacent ground-level structure was altered to provide a 
utility company office, a shop, the caretaker's apartment, covered parking, and 
considerable landscaping. The St. Mark's plan with a two-story apartment in 
each corner, was changed to meet office requirements: only one corner on 


Price Tower, axonometric. 



Price Tower, general view. 


Grouped Apartment Towers, perspective. Frank Lloyd 
Wright, Chicago, 1930. 

Hanna house, plan. Wright, Palo Alto, 1937. 

Herbert F. Johnson house, plan. Wright, Wind Point, Wis- 
consin, 1937. 
Price Tower, ground-floor plan. 



each two floors was now apartment space and the rest was used for offices, 
with two separate lobbies below. The typical apartment remained unchanged: 
kitchen, dining, and living areas were at the entry level and upstairs, on the 
diagonal balcony overlooking the living room, were a large bedroom, a boudoir, 
which could double as a second bedroom, and a bath. The kitchen, bath, 
stairs, and fireplaces back up to the structural cross-wall, which contains all 
duct work, firestairs, and elevators. 

There would doubtless have been some difficulties in marketing the apart- 
ments in St. Mark's: they were all the same size and were extravagant, with 
fireplaces on each floor, two-story spaces, large boudoir, and private elevator. 
So the addition of offices in the Price Tower is probably a sensible modifica- 
tion. The clumsiness of a slender tower meeting the ground is avoided in Price 
by the build-up of supporting spaces at ground level. The tower can be re- 
peated to form a building like the Chicago apartments of 1930; this has the ad- 
vantage of producing a mix of apartments and shows that the St. Mark's plan 
does not have to be freestanding. Whatever its faults, Price Tower is a remark- 
able building — structurally ingenious and architecturally rich — and it clearly 
demonstrates the great talent of Frank Lloyd Wright. 

10 20 

Copyright ©The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. 1956 




Pavia Housing Project, site plan. Alvar Aalto, 1966. 


City Hall, sketch plan. Alvar Aalto, Goteborg, 1955. 


Church, plan. Alvar Aalto, Imatra, 1959. 

Neue Vahr Apartments 

BREMEN, 1958-1962 

Alvar Aalto 

The apparent result of a logical strategy — maximum good exposure — the 
twenty-two-story tower at Bremen may also be seen as an example of Aalto's 
continuing preoccupation with expanding radial or fan-shaped elements at- 
tached to regular solids. This form is applied to many different building types 
including, in addition to housing, public and institutional architecture. Exam- 
ples of this persistent juxtaposition of fan-shaped and orthogonal systems in- 
clude the Finnish Exposition at the New York World's Fair of 1938, a curving, 
stepped system of display panels inserted into a rectangular container; Baker 
Dormitories of 1947, a serpentine slab with regular, rectangular appendages; 
or the Pavia Housing Project of 1966, undulating slabs inserted into a regular 
grid system. The famous sketch of the project for the Goteborg City Hall of 
1955 — a regular system with a fan-shape attached that presumably responds to 
an irregular landscape — represents yet another variation. This formal strategy 
is repeated in many buildings, including the church at Imatra, a graduated, 
fan-shaped sanctuary attached to a regular vestibule and service block; the 
student hotel at Otaniemi; or any of the libraries, all fan-shaped reading rooms 
attached to a regular building of offices and support facilities. Bremen is just 

... ■. -^ 


Neue Vahr Apartments, view from south. 


Student hotel, plan. Alvar Aalto, Otaniemi, 1963. 


Library, plan. Alvar Aalto, Seinajoki, 1963. 


Neue Vahr Apartments, detail. 


Neue Vahr Apartments, axonometric. 


Neue Vahr Apartments, plan and sketch. 


Neue Vahr Apartments, detail. 

another variation of this idea; it might be thought of as a slightly modified ver- 
sion of the library plan extended vertically. 

The fan-shaped plan of the Bremen tower presents a fresh approach to the 
design of single-loaded corridor apartment buildings. Following a formula that 
attempts to maximize preferred orientation and exposure and to minimize the 
service and access corridor, each apartment faces either south or west — an ob- 
vious advantage in a northern climate— and attaches to a service wall contain- 
ing elevators and stairs. Kitchen and bath back up to this service wall; en- 
trance is through this zone to the living and sleeping areas, which open to a 
large window and a modest balcony. Typical studio apartments are contained 
between a single-bedroom unit at one end of the corridor and a two-bedroom 



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Neue Vahr Apartments, detail. 


Neue Vahr Apartments, site plan. 

unit at the other. An arcade lined with shops serviced from below connects the 
lobby of the tower with the adjacent shopping center. The fan-shaped side of 
the building opens to a park, and automobile parking at a lower level backs up 
to the service wall. 

Although designed as a freestanding building in an open space, Bremen 
would seem to be more applicable as an urban building type. If the single- 
loaded corridor is extended, a serpentine, continuous type of building results. A 
single-loaded version of the Pavia slabs would be the logically consistent hori- 
zontal extension of the Neue Vahr Apartments. As compared to the freestand- 
ing tower, which needs open space all around, the continuous slab can con- 
nect buildings together, establish surface, adapt to various conditions, and 
help to complete existing urban fabric. 


Hansaviertel tower, site plan (tower indicated). 

Hansaviertel Tower 

BERLIN, 1960 

J. H. van den Broek and J. B. Bakema 

The van den Broek and Bakema tower of the Berlin International Building Ex- 
hibition of 1960 is probably the most important and innovative solution to 
high-rise, high-density housing to appear since Le Corbusier's first Unit6 
d'Habitation of 1948 in Marseilles. Built as part of a rather picturesque 
scheme to rehouse about half of the six thousand residents of the bombed-out 
Hansa Quarter of Berlin, the van den Broek and Bakema building is one of six 
towers in a project that also includes six high-rise slabs and one- and two-story 
housing. The work of fifty-three different architects, including Gropius, Aalto, 
Neimeyer, and Le Corbusier, is represented. 

The Hansaviertel tower shares many of the essential features of the Mar- 
seilles Unit6: two-level, through apartments, balconies within the framework 
of the building, alternate corridors with apartment units above and below but 
with access from the corridor, partial detachment from the ground plane, and a 
rooftop intended for use by the occupants. This tower, however, probably offers 
a more realistic solution to the two-level, through-apartment, alternate-corri- 
dor arrangement. As satisfying as the double-height space in the Unite may 
be, its economic disadvantage is obvious. The stepped section in the Hansa- 
viertel tower has a similar level change, but of only half a floor; and although 
there is no double-height space, there is some sense of spatial expansion along 
the hallway between the upper and lower levels. An additional advantage is 


Hansaviertel tower, axonometric. 


Hansaviertel tower, general view. 


Hansaviertel tower, typical plans (left), elevation (mid- 
dle), section (right). 

the 20-foot-wide bays as opposed to the 12-foot-wide bays in the Unite. This 
permits a variety of room sizes in a much smaller total area (860 square feet 
as compared to 1,200 square feet in the typical Unite apartment). The van den 
Broek and Bakema tower has another advantage over the Unite as an al- 
ternate-corridor arrangement: it is adaptable to United States fire codes, pro- 
viding multiple exits from every level, even with the skip-stop configuration. 

As built, the tower is only four bays wide because of the back-to-back ar- 
rangement of the stairs and hallways. More bays could be added, but this 
would require the addition of functionally unnecessary stair towers. The step- 
section and corridor scheme imply a slab-like or horizontal attenuation, but 
the building actually has more the appearance of a tower and is nearly square 
in plan. Finally, the section produces a specific mix of apartment types: four 
studio units are required on every fourth level, for an overall mix of fifty per- 
cent multiple-bedroom units and fifty percent studio units — certainly an 
unrealistic ratio for a normal housing situation and an inherent disadvantage 
of this section. 

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5 10 20 



Peabody Terrace, axonometric. 

Peabody Terrace 

Sert, Jackson, and Gourley 

Only a short walk from Harvard Yard, this building complex on the banks of 
the Charles is another addition to J. L. Serfs set of towers that punctuate the sky- 
line along the river. Built as a kind of stylistic appendage to the liolyoke Cen- 
ter of Harvard University which Sert designed earlier, these married students' 
apartments have access to Harvard Yard through a pedestrian network that 
stretches from the river through the arcade of Holyoke Center. 

Three towers of twenty-two stories each connect to eight-story wings ar- 
ranged to form small quadrangles. The quadrangles follow the existing pattern 
of housing along the Charles. Larger spaces to the perimeter contain recrea- 
tional spaces, and a parking structure provides off-street parking. One of the 
rare examples of skip-stop planning in the United States, the towers are espe- 
cially interesting as an innovative solution to the problem of how to take ad- 
vantage of alternate-level corridors, meet national fire codes, and still produce 
an interesting building. The balconies solve the fire code problem by providing 
alternative exits via adjacent apartments. They also provide an outside living 
area and give sun protection to exposed sides. The balcony structure is laid 
over the surface of the building like a three-dimensional grid. This grid or ma- 
trix is contrived so as to be interesting and organizationally reflective of the 
every-third-level corridor system. There are several unit types. At the corridor 
levels where through apartments are not possible, there are small studio units 
with kitchen and living and dining areas, and one-bedroom units with living 
area and bedrooms to the outside opening to balconies. Noncorridor floors have 
one- and two-bedroom through apartments, always with the balcony to provide 
emergency fire exits. All apartments are arranged with services in one wall so 
that the opposite wall is uninterrupted from one end of the apartment to the 
other. This has the effect of spatially expanding the units, which are in fact 
quite small. 

Although the balcony arrangement was an imaginative way to make a skip- 
stop package conform to fire codes existing at the time and simultaneously 
achieve a certain variety in elevation, there is some doubt that the skip-stop 
scheme is very advantageous. The alternate-level arrangement is perhaps 
more appropriate to two-level apartments, so that the stairs can be rather inci- 
dental and within the unit. Here, the stairs up and down from the corridors are 
enclosed fire stairs. However, the ingenious use of repetitive components in- 
cluding the balcony matrix and the window system has resulted in a building 
of considerable architectural interest. 


Peabody Terrace, axonometric. 


Peabody Terrace, aerial view. 


Peabody Terrace, typical floor plans (left), site plan 

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Further Readings 

Suntop Homes 

Architectural Forum, January 1948, pp. 80-81. [The last of the two special 

issues of the magazine devoted to Wright. | 
Hitchcock, Henry-Russell. In the Nature of Materials, p. 98 and jjls. 366-368. 

New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1942. 

El Pueblo Ribera Court 

Gebhard, David. R. M. Schindler, p. 69. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Mu- 
seum of Art, 1967. [Exhibition catalogue.] 

. Schindler, p. 71. New York: Viking, 1972. 

"Schindlers Spel Met de Ruimte." Forum (Amsterdam), August 1961, pp. 260- 

Daal en Berg Duplex Houses 

Modeme Bouiukunst in Nederland (Rotterdam), 5 (1935), 27-28, 42. [A serial 
covering modern Dutch building arranged by building type and including 
photographs and drawings of many of the less well-known buildings of the 

Wasmuths Monatshefte fur Baukunst und Stddtebau (Berlin), 1925, p. 514. 

Wasmuths Monatshefte f&r Baukunst und Stddtebau (Berlin), 1927, pp. 114- 

Group of Court Houses 

Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe, p. 42. New York: Praeger, 1965. 

Kingo Houses 

Faber, Tobias. New Danish Architecture, pp. 65-67. New York: Praeger, 

Helmer-Petersen, Keld. "A Visit to Denmark: A New Personality, J«irn Utzon," 

Zodiac, 5 (October 1957), 80-85. 
Skriver, Poul Erik. "Contemporary Danish Architecture." In Architects' Year 

Book 10, pp. 104-109. London: Elek, 1962. 

Weissenhof Exhibition (Mies van der Rohe) 

Banham, Reyner. Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, pp. 273-278. 
London: Architectural Press, 1960. 

Johnson, Philip C. Mies van der Rohe, 2nd ed., pp. 42-48. New York: Museum 
of Modern Art, 1953. 

Teige, Karel. Nejmensi Byt, p. 180. Prague, 1932. 

Wedepohl, Edgar. "Die Weissenhof-Siedlung der Werkbundausstellung 'Die 
Wohnung' Stuttgart 1927." Wasrnuths Monatshefte fur Baukunst unci Stdd- 
tebau (Berlin), 1927, pp. 391-402. 


Weissenhof Exhibition (J. J. P. Oud) 

Hitchcock, Henry-Russell. J. J. P. Oud, pp. 28-32. Paris: Editions Cahiers 

d'Art, 1931. 
Wedepohl, Edgar. "Die Weissenhof-Siedlung der Werkbundausstellung 'Die 

Wohnung' Stuttgart 1927." Wasmuths Monatshefte fur Baukunst unci Stack 

tebau (Berlin), 1927, pp. 391-402. 

Vienna Werkbund Exposition (Andre Lurcat) 

"Dreiunddreissig Architekten Bauen in Wien eine Siedlung." Wasmuths Mon- 
atshefte fur Baukunst unci Stadtebau (Berlin), 1931, p. 460. 

Frank, Josef, ed. Die Internationale Werkbundsiedlung. Vienna: 1932. |A spe- 
cial publication about the exhibition. | 


Kenchiku Bunka, June 1961, pp. 89-100. 

Tange, Kenzo, and Udo Kultermann. Kengo Tange: Architecture and Urban 
Design, pp. 110-111. New York: Praeger, 1970. 

Siedlung Halen 

Architectural Design, February 1963, pp. 63-71. 

Blumer, J. "Modern Swiss Architecture since 1945." Architects' Year Book 10, 

pp. 143-145. London: Elek, 1962. 
Werk, February 1963, pp. 58-71. 

Fleet Road Terrace Housing 

Architectural Design, September 1967, pp. 423, 432-433. 

Rue Franklin Apartments 

Banham, Reyner. Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, pp. 38-40. 

London: Architectural Press, 1960. 
Champigneulle, Bernard. Perret, pp. 16-19. Paris: Arts et Metiers Graphiques, 

Collins, Peter. Concrete: The Vision of a New Architecture, pp. 178-184. 

London: Faber and Faber, 1959. 

Avenue de Versailles Apartments 

Architectural Review, October 1932, pp. 133-138. 
Baumeister, August 1931, p. 327. 

Porte Molitor Apartments 

Le Corbusier. Oeuvre complete 1929-1934, ed. W. Boesiger, pp. 144-153. 
Zurich: Girsberger, 1935. 

Casa Rustici 

Koulermos, Panos. "Terragni, Lingeri and Italian Rationalism." Architectural 

Design, March 1963, pp. 120-121. 
Zevi, Bruno. Omaggio a Terragni, pp. 67-69. Milan: Etas/Kompass, 1968. 

Parklaan Apartments 

Bromberg, Paul. Architecture in the Netherlands, p. 79. The Netherlands In- 
formation Bureau, 1944. 

Gerretsen, W. J., and J. P. L. Hendriks. Hedendaagsche Architectuur in Ne- 
derland, p. 144. Amsterdam: Kosmos, 1937. 

Moderne Bouwkunst in Nederland (Rotterdam), 4 (1933), pp. 30-31, 52. 


Immeuble Villas 

Le Corbusier. Oeuvre complete 1910-1929, ed. D. Stonorov and W. Boesiger, 
pp. 40-43. Zurich: Editions d' Architecture, 1929. I See also "Une Ville con- 
temporaine," pp. 34-39; "Immeubles- Villas et Pavilion de l'Esprit Nouveau," 
pp. 92-99; "Plan Voisin," pp. 114-121.1 

Le Corbusier. The Radiant City. New York: Orion, 1967. 

Spangen Quarter 

Fanelli, Giovanni. Architettnra moderna in Olanda, pp. 43-47. Florence: Mar- 

chi and Bertolli, 1968. 
Hertzberger, Herman. "Looking for the Beach under the Pavement." RIBA 

Journal, August 1971, p. 330. 

Nirwana Apartments 

Fanelli, Giovanni. Architettura moderna in Olanda, p. 126. Florence: Marchi 

and Bertolli, 1968. 
Jelles, E. J., and C. A. Alberts. "Duiker #1." Forum (Amsterdam)> November 

1971, pp. 38-41. [Special issue.] 
Vickery, Robert. "Bijvoet and Duiker." In Perspecta: The Yale Architectural 

Journal Volumes 13 and 14, pp. 151-152. New York: Wittenborn, 1972. 

Hansaviertel Apartments 

Fleig, Karl. Alvar Aalto, pp. 168-173. Zurich: Girsberger, 1963. 
Werk, January 1958, pp. 9-12. 

Immeuble Clarte 

Le Corbusier. Oeuvre complete 1929-1934, ed. W. Boesiger, pp. 66-71. 
Zurich: Girsberger, 1935. 

Narkomfin Apartments 

Kopp, Anatole. Ville et revolution, pp. 150-156. Paris: Editions Athropos, 

Teige, Karel. Nejmenski Byt, p. 323. Prague, 1932. 

Unite d'Habitation 

Besset, Maurice. Who Was Le Corbusier? pp. 156-164. Geneva: Skira, 1968. 

Le Corbusier. Oeuvre complete 1938-1946, ed. W. Boesiger, pp. 172, 193. 
Zurich: Editions d'Architecture, 1946. 

Le Corbusier. Oeuvre complete 1946-1952, ed. W. Boesiger, pp. 186-223. 
Zurich: Girsberger, 1953. [See also pp. 166-171 and "Le Concours de Stras- 
bourg: Unite at Nantes-Renze," pp. 102-111.] 

Le Corbusier. The Radiant City, p. 43. New York: Orion, 1967. 

Harumi Apartment House 

Hassenpflug, Gustav, and Paulhans Peters. Schiebe Punkt und Hiigel, pp. 78- 

79. Munich: Callwey, 1966. 
Kenchiku Bunka, February 1959, pp. 19-38. 

Durand Apartments 

Le Corbusier. Oeuvre complete 1929-1934, ed. W. Boesiger, pp. 160-166. 

Zurich: Girsberger, 1935. 
Le Corbusier. The Radiant City, pp. 292-295. New York: Orion, 1967. 

Zomerdijkstraat Atelier Apartments 

Fanelli, Giovanni. Architettura moderna in Olanda, pp. 132-133. Florence: 

Marchi and Bertolli, 1968. 
Mode me Bouzvkunst in Nederland (Rotterdam), 5 (1935), 30-32, 42-43. 


Hoogbouw Towers 

Jelles, E. J., and C. A. Alberts. "Duiker #1." Forum (Amsterdam), November 
1971, pp. 42-43. [Special issue.] Text in "Duiker #2." Forum, January 1972 
pp. 138-139. 

Vickery, Robert. "Brjvoet and Duiker." In Perspecta: The Yale Architectural 
Journal Volumes 13 and 14, p. 152. New York: Wittenborn, 1972. 

Victorieplein Tower 

Fanelti, Giovanni. Architettura moderna in Olanda, pp. 101-102. Florence: 

Marchi and Bertolli, 1968. 
Moderne Bouwkunst in Nederland (Rotterdam), 4 (1933), pp. 29, 51. 

Price Tower 

Hitchcock, Henry-Russell. In the Nature of Materials, ills. 305-309, 411-413. 

New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1942. 
Wright, F. L. An American Architecture , ed. Edgar Kaufmann, pp. 114-134. 

New York: Horizon Press, 1955. ^ 
. The Story of the Tower. New York: Horizon Press, 1956. 

Neue Vahr Apartments 

Bauen und Wohnen, November 1963, pp. 458-460. 

Fleig, Karl. Alvar Aalto, pp. 262-263. Zurich: Girsberger, 1963. 

Hansaviertel Tower 

Architetture: Cronache e Storia, December 1961, pp. 528-538. 
Bauen und Wohnen, June 1961, pp. 225-228. 

Hassenpflug, Gustav, and Paulhans Peters. Schiebe Punkt und Hugel, p. 200. 
Munich: Callway, 1966. 

Peabody Terrace 

Bastlund, Knud. Jost Luis Sert, pp. 220-231. New York: Praeger, 1967. 
Kenchiku Bunka, November 1965, pp. 101-108. 
Zodiac, 16 (1966), 24-25. 

General Readings 

Adler, Leo. Neuzeitliche Miethauser und Siedlungen. Berlin: Ernst Pollak, 

Anguissola, L. B. / J4 anni del piano inacasa. Rome: Staderini, 1963. 

Bachmann, Jul, and Stanislaus von Moos. Neiu Directions in Siuiss Architec- 
ture. New York: Braziller, 1969. 

Besset, Maurice. New French Architecture. New York: Praeger, 1967. 

De Fries, H.Junge Baukunst in Deutschland. Berlin: Otto Stollberg, 1926. 

Deilmann, Harald, Jorg C. Kirschenmann, and Herbert Pfeiffer. Wohnungs- 
bau. Stuttgart: K. Kramer, 1973. 

Delvoy, R. L., and M. Culot. L. H. De Koninck. Brussels: Architectural Associa- 
tion, Archives of Modern Architecture, 1973. 

Fleig, Karl, ed. Alvar Aalto, 1963-1970. New York: Praeger, 1971. 

Feuerstein, Gunther. New Directions in German Architecture. New York: 
Braziller, 1968. 

Galardi, Alberto. New Italian Architecture. New York: Praeger, 1967. 

Hoffmann, Hubert. Row Houses and Cluster Houses: An International Sur- 
vey. New York: Praeger, 1967. 

Hoffmann, Ot, and Christoph Repenthin. Neue urbane Wohnfomien. Giiters- 
loh: Bertelsmann, 1965. 

Jensen, Rolf. High Density Living. London: Leonard Hill, 1966. 

Maxwell, Robert. Neiu British Architecture. New York: Praeger, 1972. 

Mindlin, Henrique E. Modern Architecture in Brazil. New York: Reinhold, 


Moretti, Bruno. Case d'abitazione in Italia. Milan: Hoepli, 1939. 

Nagel, Siegfried, and Siegfried Linke. Reihenhauser, Grouppenhduser, 
Hochhauser. Giitersloh: Bertelsmann, 1970. 

. Einfamilienhauser , Bungalows, Ferienhduser. Giitersloh: Bertels- 
mann, 1968. 

Paul. Samuel. Apartments: Their Design and Development. New York: Rein- 
"hold, 1967. 

Pehnt, Wolfgang. German Architecture , 1960-1970. New York: Praeger, 

Peter, Peterhans. Wohnquartiere neue Stadte. Munich, 1966. 

Peters, Paulhans. Wohnhochhduser. Munich: Callwey, 1958. 

Roth, Alfred. La Nouvelle Architecture. Zurich: Editions d'Architecture, 1948. 

Schmitt, K. W. Multistory Housing. New York: Praeger, 1966. 

Sherwood, Roger. "Modern Housing Prototypes." Architecture and Urbanism, 

March 1975. [Special issue.] 
, ed. Urban Housing: A Comparative Guide. Ithaca: Cornell University 

Department of Architecture, 1970. 
Stern, Robert A. Neiv Directions in American Architecture. New York: Bra- 

ziller, 1969. 
Sting, Hellmuth. Grundriss Wohnungsbau. Stuttgart: Koch, 1975. 
Stirling, James. James Stirling: Buildings and Projects, 1950-1974. New 

York: Oxford University Press, 1975. 
Suhonen, Pekka. Utta Suomalaista arkkitehturria. Helsinki: Kustannuso- 

sakeyhtio Tammi, 1967. 
Tempel, Egon. New Japanese Architecture. New York: Praeger, 1970. 

. New Finnish Architecture. New York: Praeger, 1968. 

Van den Broek, J. H. Habitation. 3 vols. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1964. 
Woods, Shadrach. Candilis-Josic-Woods: Building for People. New York: 

Praeger, 1968. 
Yorke, F. R. S., and Frederick Gibberd. The Modern Flat. London: Architectural 

Press, 1948. 

The best periodicals for information on housing are the international archi- 
tectural serials. Although none are devoted entirely to the subject of housing, 
most report on a wide range of housing projects and occasionally publish spe- 
cial issues that deal exclusively with some aspect of housing. Examples in- 
clude the September 1967 issue of Architectural Design entitled "Housing 
Primer," which probably remains the classic reference to low-rise, high-density 
English housing; the two issues of Architektur und Wohnform (February 1969 
and February 1970) by Hellmuth Sting, which were perhaps the earliest stud- 
ies that analyzed housing typologically (these studies were concerned with 
classification by building and unit types and were later incorporated into Hell- 
muth's book Grundriss Wohnungsbau); and my own study, "Modern Housing 
Prototypes," in Architecture and Urbanism (March 1975). 

Most periodicals tend to report more on building in the country in which the 
periodical is published, although some, such as Architecture and Urbanism in 
Japan, devote considerable space to architecture outside the country of origin. 
L Architecture d'Aujourd'hui reports on more projects more frequently and 
covers a greater range of work than any other magazine and is perhaps the 
best continuing reference to international housing.